Infidelity is one of the leading reasons that people have for ending their marriage. When one spouse strays, it can destroy the trust and respect upon which the marriage existed. Without that important foundation, a healthy relationship may not be possible.

As someone who has experienced the pains of infidelity, it is normal for you to want some kind of compensation or justice for your suffering. Many people have heard stories about someone getting to keep the house or another significant asset because their ex cheated during the marriage. These stories can inspire people to want to fight over every cent in a divorce stemming from infidelity.

Unfortunately, those stories are not based on the reality of how Ohio handles your marital assets or allegations of infidelity. For the most part, the judge in your Ohio divorce cannot consider marital wrongdoing when dividing your assets. That means that even if your spouse cheats, the courts aren’t allowed to factor that infidelity and the pain it causes into their decision-making. There are, however, two important exceptions to that rule.

Your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may give you grounds to seek recourse

  • Once the realm solely of the highly wealthy or famous, prenuptial agreements have become commonplace for many modern marriages. These documents outline your expectations and guide the process of a divorce. The same is true of a postnuptial agreement created after you marry.
  • In addition to reducing the stresses of a potential divorce, a prenuptial agreement can give you protection against your spouse’s bad behavior. If you executed a prenuptial agreement that assigns a financial penalty for infidelity, the courts may uphold that document and those terms that you and your ex agreed to prior to marriage.

If your ex wasted household funds on an affair, that can come out of their share

The money involved is usually the last consideration of a spouse finding out that their partner has cheated. However, people can spend thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on vacations, apartments, vehicles and fancy dates with their extramarital partner.

If your spouse used marital assets, such as income earned during your marriage, to conduct their affair, you may be able to get the courts to consider those amounts during the asset division process. Typically, the courts will penalize someone who engages in dissipation or the willful wasting of marital funds for assets.

Given the nature of an extramarital affair, the courts may consider any household funds spent on an affair as a form of dissipation, depending on the specifics from your marriage. Barring one of these two scenarios, it is unlikely that an extramarital affair will have much bearing on the outcome of your divorce.