Does Adultery Or Living With A New Partner Affect My Divorce Settlement?
10th April 2021
Many people don't consider that they are committing adultery if they are having a sexual relationship with someone new AFTER they have separated from their spouse
This is moral positioning
The legal definition of adultery is:
" a married man having sexual intercourse with a woman who is not his wife or a married woman having sexual intercourse with a man who is not her husband "
Interestingly, it is not considered adultery if the sexual intercourse is between people of the same sex
The short answer is, the effect varies from case to case In divorce proceedings both you and your ex-spouse are under an ongoing duty to give open and full disclosure and this includes disclosure about new relationships
In this scenario, a Court may consider that your housing needs have been met and may therefore give a more favourable view of your ex's position. It could be that they are permitted to remain for a period of time in the family home without it being sold or they receive a more generous share of the equity on its sale
The court may also consider that you have fewer housing costs as you may be sharing these with your new partner leaving you with a greater disposable income from which to pay maintenance or fund a larger mortgage
At first glance, this may seem like you are being penalised for moving on and moving in with a new partner. However, this is not the case. It simply boils down to the court's interpretation of needs based on the financial circumstances of the couple
You and your ex have a divorce financial order. It provides for you to pay your ex maintenance. During the financial settlement negotiations, your ex failed to disclose or has subsequently started living with another person who is in receipt of a low income
The Court would need to be satisfied that your ex's financial situation was much improved by their cohabitee sharing the housing costs and they may risk a reduction in the amount of maintenance they receive from you. If the cohabitee was earning a substantial income, this could also have an impact on the amount of maintenance you pay and may possibly lead to a termination of maintenance payments
Key considerations to note
If you start living with a new partner before the financial settlement is agreed upon or have an intention to do so after the divorce and you have not disclosed the relationship or your intentions during the negotiations your settlement may be re-opened when the non-disclosure is discovered.
The outcome could result in a change in the terms of the order and the possibility of being ordered to pay your ex's legal costs as well as your own If you are cohabiting while divorcing or plan to cohabit in the foreseeable future after the decree Absolute is granted, then it is important to seek advice from an experienced family lawyer at the earliest opportunity
If you would like to chat about your situation, then please get in touch
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