It can be hard to keep a marriage together after an infidelity has occurred. Once the trust has been broken, most couples find it impossible to rebuild. Still, others manage to move forward and create an even stronger bond. Below we discuss why divorce is not your only option after infidelity, and also what to do if it is your only option.
After Infidelity: Marriage or Divorce?
One family that knows a lot about moving forward after infidelity is the Duggar family from 19 Kids and Counting.
Following allegations of child molestation and infidelity when it was revealed that he was a customer on the cheating site Ashley Madison, Josh Duggar has been apart from his wife Anna for months as he seeks rehabilitation at a Christian-based rehab center.
Just shortly after his admittance into that center, the divorce rumors started swelling. Reports showed that Anna might have been ready to leave her husband, but that other Duggar family members were urging her to reconsider.
In late December, it looks like Anna was choosing to stay with her husband after she was spotted paying Josh a holiday-week rehab visit.
According to People magazine, Anna visited Josh at his faith-based rehab center in Rockford, Illinois. He has been there since he admitted to an addiction to pornography in light of the Ashley Madison hacking incident that revealed numerous names of customers. That incident followed just after it was revealed that Josh had also been accused of inappropriately touching five minor girls in 2006, including sisters Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald.
The Duggar Family
It appears that the rest of the family is supporting the couple’s plans to save their marriage. According to a source interviewed by ET, “Anna is planning on getting back together with Josh, that’s just how it goes,” the source said. “The family was taught to have a new level of forgiveness towards Josh.”
What To Do After Infidelity
There is nothing more harmful than an unfaithful spouse, especially when you consider that a spouse is often the support to get someone through other difficult life experiences, including: job loss, loss of parent, and illness. Often times we turn to our spouse to overcome these things, but who do you turn to when the spouse is the source of the pain?
What You Shouldn’t Do
If your husband or wife has cheated on you, there will be a number of things you’ll want to do, and even more things that you shouldn’t do.
Don’t fall apart. Regardless of if your husband or wife comes out with the truth, or you find our some other way, try not to fall apart. You’re going to want to cry or scream, throw things, or just reach for the bottle of vodka. If you’re able to find a moment of clarity, hold onto it and try not to do all of these things.
Don’t start the mud-slinging. You’re going to want to call up everyone to bad mouth your spouse. Close friends and family, feel free to vent to, but this is not the time to call everyone else. Also, leave social media out of it. Those words stick for life, and can be used against you should you need to go to divorce court
Don’t destroy anything. Any damage you cause will most likely have financial consequences for you later if you decide to divorce.
Don’t involve the kids… yet. If you and your spouse have kids, leave them out of this. Any bad-mouthing you do about your spouse should not be done in front of them. This has the potential to turn them against you. If you decide to divorce, you and your spouse will need to determine how to tell the children. You might also want to work with a family therapist to come up with a strategy to tell the kids.
Will You Stay Together?
The truth is, after an affair, only you and your spouse can determine if you are able to move forward with the marriage.
According to Laurie Puhn, a lawyer and mediation specialist, it is possible, but difficult, for a marriage to stay together once an infidelity is revealed. “To most people, a marriage with a betrayer is not a marriage,” she says. “Some people stake everything on loyalty and honesty and it is not repairable.
Sometimes the only option you will see is divorce. And while divorce is an emotional process. But it can also be a financial one, involving lawyers, division of marital property, and deciding on alimony and child support. Below we provide a quick overview of these aspects of a divorce.
Division of Marital Property
The first step to property division during a divorce is deciding whether the property is “community property” or “separate property.” Here’s a little more information defining what these two terms mean.
Typically, California law asserts that assets and debts a couple accumulates during the course of a marriage are considered community property.
Any property the spouse owned prior to the marriage, acquired as a gift, or through inheritance during the marriage is that spouse’s separate property. If that property increased in value, that spouse can claim that increase as separate property as long as they can provide evidence such as financial records or other documents. Any property a spouse acquires in the period between date of separation and divorce is also considered separate property.
Date of Separation
The date of separation is the date that one spouse decides to end the marriage. For this to be considered the legal date of separation, there needs to be some legal form of action taken to denote the spouse has chosen to end the marriage. This date can become a sticking point if undefined, especially if a one spouse earns an unusual amount of money (such as a bonus) during the period between separation and divorce. If this date cannot be decided upon, a court will rule on the decision after considering the evidence.
Changing Asset Titles
A couple is able to decide before or during the marriage if they would like to convert an asset from separate property to community property, or vice versa. This agreement needs to be made in writing, and must clearly state each spouses’ intention. Assets can also be considered partially community and partially separate.
Determining “community property” from “separate property” can become complicated and you may want to consult an attorney for advice. Spouses who are not able to decide between what is “community” versus “property” will often have to let the decision come down to the court.
Permanent spousal support, also known as alimony, is when a payment is made by the spouse with better financial standing or the ability to support the spouse in a lesser financial standing for a period of time. California law dictates that spousal support be determined by a court after careful review of numerous factors. Common factors include: the length of the marriage, the incomes and ages of each spouse, the marital standard of living during the marriage, and the assets available to each party after the divorce is final. An attorney can provide you with further information as you work to determine necessary spousal support.
Length of Spousal Support
The court determines the duration of spousal support. The court determines this by following certain general equitable principals and guidelines most often set forth and determined by common law case histories.
A general rule of thumb is that spousal support lasts for half the length of a less than 10 years long marriage. In longer marriages, the court will not determine the duration of the alimony. Rather, the burden falls to the party who pays to prove that spousal support will not be needed at some point in time in the future.
1990s Duration of Alimony
The duration of alimony was linked to a transition period from married to single life in the late 1990s. Circumstances vary from case to case, but the courts rarely favor “lifetime support.”
One appellate court put it this way:
“As recognized by our Supreme Court, the public policy of this state has progressed from one which entitled some women to lifelong alimony as a condition of the marital contract of support, to one that entitles either spouse to post-dissolution support for only so long as is necessary to become self-supporting.”
Child Support and Custody
Child support is a monthly payment made to help cover the cost of raising a child. Typically, the parent that cares for a child most of the time receives the child support payments because it is assumed that that parent already spends money directly on the child. But a court can also order both parents to pay child support.
These payments usually last until the child turns 18. You’ll want to work with an attorney if there are kids involved. These types of cases can get litigious and heated if parents are unable to work together to reach a settlement.
Working with a Divorce Specialist
If you are facing a divorce, you should work with an attorney that will take a vested interest in your specific situation and advise you on what you might face in a divorce regarding property division, child support and custody, and alimony. They will be able to advise you on your options. An attorney will provide support and guidance as you work towards ending your marriage.
For advice on divorce, you need the expert law firm of Law Offices of Korol and Velen, Certified Family Law Specialists.