Can a Wife Divorce Her Husband for Adultery? (Need Proof?)

With divorce rates around 50%, it’s obvious that people get divorced for a variety of reasons. Affairs are also fairly common and men tend to cheat more often than women. But can a wife divorce her husband for adultery?

As a general rule, a wife can divorce her husband for adultery. But most of the time that is not necessary. Depending on the state, fault-based divorces may require proof of adultery, while no-fault divorces may not.

So essentially, in some states, listing adultery as the reason for divorce is necessary to be granted a divorce. But most of the time you can still divorce without listing that or proving it.

In this article, we’ll explore what constitutes adultery in a marriage and how it can affect property division, alimony awards, and other aspects of your divorce proceedings.

We’ll also look at some common grounds for divorcing based on adultery that you should be aware of if you are considering filing for divorce due to infidelity by your spouse.

Get ready to dive into all the details surrounding whether or not a wife can indeed file for divorce from her cheating spouse.

Table of Contents:

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Understanding Adultery and Divorce

Engaging in sexual relations with someone other than one’s spouse constitutes adultery. It can be used to prove fault in a divorce case, but it’s important to understand how adultery affects the proceedings.

In a divorce, when determining alimony, division of property, or child custody, the court may consider any marital misconduct by either party—including adultery committed by one or both spouses.

In certain jurisdictions, if one partner has strayed, then they may not be able to get alimony from the other.

Additionally, depending on the state laws and facts of each individual case, an adulterous spouse may receive less of the couple’s marital property when dividing assets during a divorce proceeding.

In traditional contested divorces where one partner files for dissolution based on their spouse’s infidelity (or another form of marital misconduct), the evidence must be presented to substantiate the claim.

This could include testimony from witnesses who had caught them in the act, or a text message proving romantic liaisons outside marriage. Hiring a private investigator is not uncommon also.

If proof of infidelity is lacking, any false testimony offered as evidence could lead to criminal proceedings against those responsible.

Given the potential legal ramifications, it is important to be aware of adultery laws before taking any action. Let us now investigate the reasons for severing a marriage that involves infidelity.

Key Takeaway: In divorce proceedings, adultery can be taken into account when making decisions regarding alimony, child custody, and the division of assets; if proven guilty with sufficient evidence, it may adversely affect a party’s case.

Grounds for Divorce Based on Adultery

Divorce is often sought due to an extramarital affair by one partner.

When a spouse commits adultery, it can have an effect on the other partner’s rights in a divorce case. Depending on the type of divorce and state laws, adultery may be considered when determining alimony or child custody.

In fault-based divorces, which are the traditional contested ones requiring evidence of marital misconduct such as adultery to obtain a divorce, courts will take into consideration proof of extramarital affairs when deciding alimony or dividing assets.

In certain states, if both parties committed infidelity then neither has any entitlement to receive spousal support from the other. And you might even be able to get a divorce if your spouse won’t have sex with you!

Moreover, depending on how long ago it happened and its impact on marriage dissolution proceedings could influence decisions about property division in cases where couples have separate bank accounts and investments obtained before they got married or during their union but not used for shared expenses.

In no-fault divorces, neither partner’s adultery is taken into account when making decisions about marital assets and debts.

However, some states may still factor evidence of infidelity into child support payments or visitation rights if it raises questions regarding parental behavior.

Judges must ensure children remain safe while with either parent who might be engaging in immoral activities outside their home environment (i.e., sexual immorality), meaning a partner’s cheating could influence these types of decisions even in the case of no-fault divorce proceedings.

A spouse’s adultery is a valid ground for divorce in many jurisdictions and can have an impact on the division of marital property.

Nevertheless, other elements must be taken into account when allocating marital assets during divorce. The next heading will explore the impact of adultery on property division.

If your marriage is failing, then check out this quick video on the 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage that will help get yours back on track.

Key Takeaway: In no-fault cases, while the cheating is not taken into account when dividing assets or debts, evidence of infidelity may still influence child support payments and visitation rights if it raises questions regarding parental behavior.

Impact of Adultery on Property Division

Adultery can have a significant impact on property division in a divorce case.

Depending on the state, adultery may be considered when determining how marital assets are divided between spouses. In some states, if one spouse has committed adultery, they may receive less of the couple’s marital estate than their partner who did not commit adultery.

In many states, courts take into account whether or not either spouse committed adultery when deciding alimony awards.

If a spouse has been unfaithful, they may be ineligible to receive alimony from their ex-spouse. In some states, if both parties were unfaithful during the marriage, this could lead to a more equitable asset division since neither spouse would be viewed as having wronged the other.

The partners’ behavior—either partner’s adultery—can also affect child custody decisions made by the court in a traditional contested divorce case.

The court will look at factors like which parent was more involved with raising children and providing emotional support before making its decision about awarding primary physical custody of any minor children that were born during the marriage or adopted after it began.

A judge might consider any evidence presented that shows one parent’s infidelity affected parenting duties or responsibilities negatively when making this determination as well as how each parent behaved throughout the course of proceedings leading up to the trial day itself.

The impact of adultery on property division can be significant, and in some cases may even result in a complete denial of the offending spouse’s right to any portion. However, it is important to understand that alimony awards are also impacted by evidence of adultery.

Key Takeaway: Custody decisions may also be affected if one parent has committed adultery during the marriage; judges will take into account any evidence presented to determine how it impacted parenting responsibilities.

Impact of Adultery on Alimony Awards

Adultery may have a considerable bearing on alimony decisions during divorce proceedings.

Courts may consider adultery when deciding on alimony awards, as state laws vary. In some states, adultery may be grounds for denying an adulterous spouse any form of alimony.

Conversely, in certain jurisdictions, a spouse may still be eligible for alimony even if they have engaged in adultery. A court may consider various elements, such as the duration of the marriage, each party’s economic contributions during it, and other pertinent data, before determining whether to grant alimony.

If, for instance, one partner is seen to have been the only source of financial aid throughout most of their union and also engaged in infidelity, this could lead to them being refused any sort of spousal maintenance from their ex.

On the other hand, if both spouses were equally contributing financially to their household prior to separation and only one had committed adultery then this would likely be taken into consideration when deciding on an appropriate amount of alimony payments for that individual.

If your marriage is failing, then check out this quick video on the 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage that will help get yours back on track.

Key Takeaway: Adultery can be a deciding factor in alimony rulings, as many states may deny any spousal support when adultery is present.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where in the Bible does it say you can divorce for adultery?

The Bible contains several passages that discuss divorce, including one that allows for divorce in the case of adultery.

This passage can be found in the King James Version of the Bible in Matthew 5:32. The exact passage reads:

“But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”

This passage is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and is often referred to as the “exception clause” because it provides an exception to the general rule against divorce.

In this passage, Jesus is saying that if a man divorces his wife for any reason other than adultery (which he refers to as “fornication”), then both parties are guilty of committing adultery. However, if a man divorces his wife because she has committed adultery, then he is not guilty of committing adultery himself.

This passage has been interpreted by many Christian denominations as allowing for divorce in cases of adultery.

While some denominations may have stricter interpretations or additional requirements before allowing a divorce due to adultery, this passage provides a clear basis for allowing such a divorce in certain circumstances.

Are you the spouse that was cheated on?

You may even be wondering If You Should Stay Married After an Affair (click to read my article). I wrote a piece on that topic recently and consulted the work of 5 experts in helping to arrive at an answer.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Can my wife sue me for adultery?

No, your wife cannot sue you for adultery in most cases.

Adultery is not a crime and therefore does not carry any legal penalties. In certain jurisdictions, if a spouse can prove that their partner has engaged in adultery, it may be grounds for divorce.

In some jurisdictions, a spouse found to have committed adultery may be required to provide financial restitution as part of the divorce proceedings.

That being said, when you are served divorce papers because an action is being taken against you in conjunction with a court filing, the paperwork may well say “you are being sued”.

But that isn’t the same as being sued for a crime.

What are your rights if your husband commits adultery?

Adultery is legally recognized as a type of marital misconduct and can be used to justify divorce proceedings.

If your husband has committed adultery, you may be entitled to certain rights under the laws of your state. These could include seeking alimony or spousal support payments from him to help with living expenses; claiming any assets acquired by him during the course of his adulterous relationship; and potentially receiving a larger portion of property division due to his infidelity.

It is advisable to speak with a lawyer knowledgeable in the local laws regarding family matters for more information on how such cases are addressed where you reside.

Is it adultery if you are separated?

In some states, legal separation is recognized and couples can file for a legal separation while they decide on a divorce.

In these states, any sexual activity between either spouse and another person would be considered adultery prior to an official separation agreement being drawn up and filed with the court.

This includes both physical and emotional relationships.

And in that legal separation agreement, it would be a good idea for both spouses to agree and put in a clause specifying whether relations with a new partner during the separation are acceptable. Clear communication is the best way to avoid an ugly divorce.

However, there are some states that do not recognize legal separation.

In these states, couples are either married or divorced; there is no middle ground. If a couple in one of these states has separated but has not yet filed for divorce, any sexual activity between either spouse and another person would still be considered adultery.

When it comes to filing for divorce based on adultery, judges typically take into account whether the couple was separated at the time of the alleged infidelity.

If they were separated, judges may be more lenient when deciding whether to allow an adultery claim as part of the divorce proceedings. However, this does not mean that an adultery claim will automatically be allowed; each case is judged on its own merits and evidence must be presented to support any claims made by either party.

All states allow legal separation except:

  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Mississippi
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas


The answer to the question “can a wife divorce her husband for adultery” is yes.

Divorce proceedings can be initiated on grounds of adultery, even if their affair has ended, and this will have an impact on property division and alimony awards in some cases. It’s important to understand the legal implications of such a decision before proceeding with any action, as it could affect your future financial security.

That being said, most of the time, a no-fault divorce citing irreconcilable differences is enough to get the judge to sign a certificate of divorce. And if kids are involved, that can help the divorce process amicable which is in everyone’s long-term best interest.

A lawyer specializing in divorce matters can offer counsel and guidance to ensure your interests are safeguarded during the proceedings.

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Of course, I have to add that while I have been divorced twice, and have been both a cheater in my last marriage (once in 2013) and been cheated on (more than once), I am not an attorney or marriage counselor. As such, my article should not be construed as legal or professional advice. If you need legal or professional advice, you should seek out a qualified professional in your area.

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