It is not uncommon for adultery to be a factor in a marriage breakdown, but most people are unaware of what impact this can have on arrangements both financially and for children.

The impact of adultery on the “innocent party” can be immense. This will affect their ability to make decisions or make the right decisions.  There can also be a significant impact on the “guilty party” who often wants to try to make amends.  This can result in them suggesting arrangements which will not work for them on a longer-term basis.   Sometimes, though, an affair may be a symptom of an already crumbling marriage and only the catalyst to bringing it to an end.  The “innocent party” in those circumstances may be relieved that there is a way out and both are able address decisions about the future more easily.

Distrust and a feeling of betrayal can affect parenting and, as a result, the relationship between a parent and their children.  They may be aware of the reasons for the separation, especially if they are older, and want to support the parent they perceive as being wronged.  In an ideal world, children should be supported through the separation by both their parents and protected from their parents’ feelings towards each other, but this is very difficult when emotions are running high.   Try to see the situation through your child’s eyes and, if you can selflessly do what is best for your child, even when all your instincts are to shout and scream, your child will always love and respect you for it.

When it comes to dividing the money and property, it is highly unusual for blame for the marriage breakdown to have any impact on the amount each person will receive.  There are lots of factors which have to be considered but normally behaviour is not one of them.  If the affair is leading to a long-term relationship then this may be taken into account as this could lead to more financial resources being available and a reduced income need, if for example, they live together.

It will be tempting to start divorce proceedings quickly when feeling so hurt.  However, do not deal with the divorce in isolation from the other issues without taking specialist legal advice first.  It may not be in your best interests to forge ahead with a divorce.

How we can help

We have friendly, approachable solicitors on hand to help you through this difficult time.  We can advise you on the best next steps to take and help you achieve a settlement that is fair to you.

We can also help you break through the emotional aspects of dealing with divorce or separation as a result of adultery and put the focus on your and your family’s future.

Harrogate Family Law are the experts in helping people through marriage breakdown.  Call us today for free on 01423 594 680. 

Laura Mounsey is a family lawyer with experience of working on cases involving properties, trusts, businesses and pensions.  Laura is a dedicated and talented lawyer who has been recognised with a “Safe Pair of Hands” Award.

Everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon.  If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing