Does Adultery Affect Divorce in VA?


Has your spouse committed adultery and left you considering divorce in VA? Adultery can impact your legal options and influence how you proceed to obtain a divorce.

DiPietro Law Group offers a confidential consultation to guide you through the divorce process, so contact our experienced Virginia divorce and family lawyers today.

Adultery Is a Legitimate Reason for Divorce in Virginia

For legal purposes, adultery refers to a married person having sexual intercourse with an individual other than their spouse. Virginia state law considers adultery a legitimate reason for an at-fault divorce. Based on these circumstances, you won’t have to face a waiting period when filing for divorce.

Before discussing how adultery affects divorce in VA, you must understand there are two types of divorce. Each has its own set of legal ramifications. The two different types of divorces are:

  • Bed and board divorce: This is a partial divorce you may request after you and your spouse reach a separation agreement. Divorce from bed and board is only available to individuals if their marriage includes bodily injuries, cruelty, willful desertion, or abandonment.
  • Divorce from the bond of matrimony: This is a complete divorce that ends the marriage and allows spouses to remarry after they finalize the process in circuit court. Divorce from the bond of matrimony has major implications for property distribution, child custody, and spousal support.

How Does Adultery Specifically Affect Divorce in Virginia?

Simply put, adultery in Virginia doesn’t affect divorce as much as some would hope. If your spouse cheats on you, they won’t forfeit their rights or get punished. However, your circumstances could affect the court’s ruling.

Property Distribution

Adultery has little impact on property distribution and who gets what from the marital estate. You may not receive over half of the marital assets merely because your spouse was in the wrong. But you should note a couple of caveats regarding this statement:

  • Virginia law doesn’t guarantee a 50/50 property division
  • The court could give you a larger portion if your spouse used marital assets to pursue their adulterous relationship

Child Custody and Visitation

When obtaining a divorce in VA, the court will determine custody of your children. The court will base its decision on the child’s best interests, and adultery may play a role in the final judgment. However, an affair rarely has any bearing on child custody and visitation.

Spousal Support

One area of divorce that adultery can impact significantly is spousal support. If your spouse cheated on you, the court would likely prohibit them from receiving spousal support or alimony. However, they may get support depending on their financial situation and degree of responsibility.

Contact Our Virginia Divorce and Family Law Attorneys Today

Adultery can be devastating emotionally and leave you with many questions. If you need legal guidance, the experienced attorneys at DiPietro Law Group have the answers to help you proceed confidently. Call (888) 530-4374 to learn more about divorce in VA and schedule an initial consultation.

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