Affairs and Extramarital Arrangements in California | Forum

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Nick Jul 29 '22
Adultery Laws in California

Did your spouse cheat on you? Has an affair caused a breakdown of your marriage? Whether you are filing
for divorce or considering your options, it’s important to understand adultery laws in California.
Once equipped with this knowledge, you can make informed decisions about your next steps.
Definition and Implications of Adultery in California

In California, adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse by a married person with someone
other than his or her spouse. In some states, it is possible to legally end a marriage based on a spouse’s adulterous acts. For example, in Louisiana, an individual must prove that their spouse committed adultery to establish “fault” for the breakdown of the marriage.

However, California is a no fault state. Further, the standard grounds for divorce in California
are incurable insanity and irreconcilable differences. Therefore, adultery is not a valid legal ground
for divorce in California. As a result, courts do not consider evidence of adultery when deciding whether to grant a divorce.

Does California Law Punish Spouses for Adultery?

There are no direct legal consequences of committing adultery in California. In other words, adultery is not punishable by law or as a tort in this state.
However, military personnel in California may be court-martialed for committing adultery under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

How Does Adultery Affect Divorce Judgments in California?

Adultery laws in California will not sway a judge in determining whether to grant a divorce. However,
a judge can consider the financial impact a spouse’s adulterous acts has on the marital estate. For example,
if the adulterous spouse spends any community property funds on their lover, they must reimburse the marital estate.
Additionally, an adulterous spouse cohabitating with his or her new partner during the divorce, or anytime after, can
directly impact spousal support.
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