What will happen if I was at fault for divorce? 32 Answers as of July 11, 2013

I have been married 17 years. We have 2 children, a 10 year old son and a 14 year old daughter. Over 17 years we had 2 affairs. We should have divorced a long time ago but due to the kids and bills stayed married. W just went thru bankruptcy and have spent the last 1 month living apart. My son lives with me and my daughter with my wife at her parents. A couple of weeks ago wife decides she was going to keep my son, allowing me to see him when she decides. My son wants to be with me! So the question is: what happens in a divorce if I was at fault (affairs)? I will not contest divorce. I am scared nervous and lost. Thank you

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Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
Florida is a no-fault state, so for purposes of the divorce itself, it is not important who was at fault. However, when determining where the children will reside, the moral fitness of the parties is a big factor.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/27/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
First, it happens. Fault, no-fault it makes very little difference with the facts you set out. Usually fault only gets the innocent party a disproportionate settlement of the marital estate, but with BR on the table, there is little if anything to divide. Your son may be able to tell the Judge what he wants, the law says if the child is 12, he can but under 12 the option is to the court.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/23/2011
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C.
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C. | Karen A. Clark
Washington is a no-fault dissolution state. The court will grant a dissolution on the basis of the marriage is irretrievably broken. In terms of determining child custody, the court will review whether there has been a history of neglect, abuse, violence, or other inappropriate behavior. Both parents have a duty to support minor children. I would suggest that you talk to an attorney about the best way to proceed with this matter.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/23/2011
Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
Infidelity has nothing to do with who the children reside with predominately, at least not in most cases. Florida is a no fault state, and where the children reside is determined by what living situation is in their best interest. Your Wife cannot simply say your son isn't going to live with you anymore. You have equal rights to spend time with your son and your daughter, which includes overnights. Both you and your Wife are entitled to 100% of the time with each child, and so, because neither can have 100%, a timesharing arrangement needs to be worked out. I would strongly suggest contacting an attorney to assist you with this, as once timesharing arrangements are determined, they rarely change. My office offers free initial telephone consultations if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail, as well as explore the potential rights and options available.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/23/2011
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
California is a "no fault" state. Therefore your affairs are of no consequence. You should stop your wife from being a dictator of the children. I can stop her cold in her tracks. I can also calm all of your fears and lead you through the whole process.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/23/2011
    The Coyle Law Office
    The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
    Who is at fault in a divorce should have no bearing on child custody issues. The court will decide custody based on the best interests of the child and there are usually a set of factors that the court considers in determining that. You should speak with a local attorney who can give you more guidance in your exact situation.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/23/2011
    Vermeulen Law office P.A.
    Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Jacob T. Erickson
    Minnesota is a no fault state, so it does not matter if you had an affair. You should retain an attorney to assist you with the dissolution process. Helping to explain what is going on and helping to put your mind at ease is part of what the attorney does for you in a divorce case.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/23/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Minnesota is a "no fault" divorce state which means that fault is not necessary to file or conclude a divorce. It also plays no role in the outcome of the proceedings unless the "fault" is particularly relevant to an issue in dispute. An affair would have no real impact on the proceedings. It does not affect custody, parenting, child support, property division or other issues.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/23/2011
    Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson
    Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson | Margaret Wilson
    California is a no fault state. Therefore, if you live in California it doesn't matter how many affairs you had.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/23/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    In Colorado, and most states, "fault" (especially involving "affairs") is totally irrelevant to the allocation of parental responsibilities. Children need both parents and it is never good for a child that one parent can control when or if the other parent is involved. A child's wishes as to his/her primary residence will be considered, but do not control. Most people believe that siblings should remain together after divorce, but there are exception to that - especially where the parents can get along and remain mutually involved in parenting. You and your wife should consult a mental health professional experienced in custody issues related to divorce in order to learn more about how divorce affects children and how parents can work together to minimize those affects.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/23/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    Washington is a no fault state. That means that who is at "fault" in the case is generally irrelevant. The only exception to this is if you were doing something that the court would consider as being harmful to the children.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/23/2011
    Brian Walker Law Firm, P.C.
    Brian Walker Law Firm, P.C. | Brian Walker
    As for your first question, "fault" was written out of the Washington state statutes, and Oregon revised statutes, decades ago. When I last checked, there was only one state In the Union which still required a showing of fault for divorce. This does not mean, however, that none of the conduct constituting fault may be used in court. Sometimes, it may count as a factor toward custody or support issues, depending upon how the conduct may have affected the marriage. With regard to your son, you have an absolute right to see him. You need a Parenting Plan (Washington) or a Residential Schedule (Oregon) to protect your rights to see your son without your wife's permission. Of course, your son also has a right to see you, and preventing such contact is inappropriate for parent. Regardless of the rights involved, you must move quickly. The longer your son remains in your wife's custody, the less likely it will be that you might get custody.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/23/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    Only a few states have "fault" as part of the divorce. WI, where I practice, does not. So usual divorce laws apply.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    If the affairs are not recent (within the last 3 or 4 years) then I believe most Judges would look at them as not pertinent, assuming your wife knew of them at or near the time of the affairs, they would consider that she forgave and forgot.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    Wisconsin is a no fault divorce state. You need to start the process so that you have court orders on who gets what placement. The statute indicates that the placement must be maximized between parents (which isn't 50/50 but what is in the kids best interest with having meaningful time with the parents). As for what your son or daughter wants, they shouldn't be put in a position of voicing that opinion to you or your wife, that isn't their responsibility or burden. As I tell kids, if the parents can't work it out the court will decide not them.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    The best advice I can give you is to consult with an attorney who does divorces and child custody actions. Right now, nobody apparently has custody of your son, so you have just as much right to him as she does. I suggest you start the divorce action first and hit her as hard as you can with a law suit and seek custody of him. Who is at fault usually doesn't impact greatly upon custody, but it is fact dependent and that's why you need the help of a competent attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    You clearly need to retain a divorce lawyer in your area as soon as possible to discuss all your rights and options, including on the custody issue.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    The best interests of the child determines custody; fault is considered for alimony and property awards. The relevant CT custody statute states: (c) In making or modifying any order as provided in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the court shall consider the best interests of the child, and in doing so may consider, but shall not be limited to, one or more of the following factors: (1) The temperament and developmental needs of the child; (2) the capacity and the disposition of the parents to understand and meet the needs of the child; (3) any relevant and material information obtained from the child, including the informed preferences of the child; (4) the wishes of the child's parents as to custody; (5) the past and current interaction and relationship of the child with each parent, the child's siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the best interests of the child; (6) the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage such continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent as is appropriate, including compliance with any court orders; (7) any manipulation by or coercive behavior of the parents in an effort to involve the child in the parents' dispute; (8) the ability of each parent to be actively involved in the life of the child; (9) the child's adjustment to his or her home, school and community environments; (10) the length of time that the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity in such environment, provided the court may consider favorably a parent who voluntarily leaves the child's family home pendente lite in order to alleviate stress in the household; (11) the stability of the child's existing or proposed residences, or both; (12) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except that a disability of a proposed custodial parent or other party, in and of itself, shall not be determinative of custody unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interests of the child; (13) the child's cultural background; (14) the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if any domestic violence has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual or the child; (15) whether the child or a sibling of the child has been abused or neglected, as defined respectively in section 46b-120; and (16) whether the party satisfactorily completed participation in a parenting education program established pursuant to section 46b-69b. The court is not required to assign any weight to any of the factors that it considers.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    In Georgia, custody determinations are based upon what is in the best interest of the child, not based upon who was at fault. Parties' behaviors can be considered, however, when determining what is in the child's best interest. For instance, if the divorce was caused by someone's alcoholism, that factor will definitely will be taken into consideration when determining custody.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law, this is a no fault state, so fault does not enter into it. An important factor in parenting decisions here is which parent has been providing the primary parenting for the child, so the fact he has been living with you is in your favor. In your divorce you may need to ask the court for temporary orders as to the parenting arrangements for the children pending trial.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    Don't be scared. California is a no-fault divorce state. Whatever affair(s) you may have had should not impact the issue of child custody. California determines child custody based on the quality of the relationship and parenting of the respective parents with the children. You would best retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you in your divorce/custody case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    California is a no fault state. Therefore, it does not matter if a party has had an affair or they chose to leave the marriage. California is also a community property state therefore property division is based on when the parties accumulated property, not who left the marriage. Custody will be determined in the best interests of the children. Generally at age 10, the courts do not deem that a child is mature enough to form a decision about who they are to live with. However in some circumstances a court will appoint an attorney for the children and will take their wishes into account. Generally the courts prefer that the children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Today...right now schedule an appointment with a local domestic relations attorney. The issues you asked about are state specific, and thus impossible for me to answer. In most cases the facts of the case will not influence your ability to see your children. And you need to force your wife to let you see the children in court. You really need to see a lawyer. Please do not delay.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    The affair should not be admissible in court. If your wife has informed your children that you had an affair, that could adversely impact her claim to custody.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    If you're in California, "fault" is irrelevant. California is a "no fault" state. Custody is determined based on a child's "best interests." There are a lot of factors that can go into a "best interests" determination. Best to call a local family law lawyer to discuss the facts of your case. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    I am sorry to hear about your situation. Feeling "at fault" for the divorce doesn't necessarily mean that you were responsible for the marriage not working out. It certainly doesn't mean that you will lose everything in a divorce either. It does sound like you have a lot of issues that will need to be addressed. Has anyone actually filed yet? If you would like to set up a time to speak in more detail about your situation, please feel free to call my office for a free telephone consult.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    Unless there was something unsavory about the whole affair business, it should not impact your ability to be with your child.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    In Washington fault does not matter unless it was waste or effects your parenting.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    Washington is a "no fault" State. Unless the affairs have an impact on the children, then it will not be an issue.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Under Georgia law until a court orders otherwise you each have equal custodial rights. If you both had affairs some time ago and the kids were not aware, involved, or exposed, that should have little to do with a custody decision. You need to discuss the details of your case with a lawyer in order to get a better feel for your custody case for your son.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    First of all, if you don't get a lawyer, you have a very bad outcome. While a lawyer doesn't guarantee things, he will know how to present your best points. As a general rule, judges won't separate children, and, as a general rule, most judges want husbands to spend a lot of time with a child. Beyond that, it's all in the details your counsel will look at.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/22/2011
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