How Much Does Adultery Impact Divorce in Alberta?

Your spouse cheated. It’s natural to assume that in a fair and just world, they’d walk out of the divorce process somehow worse off than you will.

In reality, adultery has a smaller impact on divorce than you might imagine. It’s important to recognize that fact and account for it.


As a Grounds For Divorce

Proving adultery is most useful if you want to get a divorce fast, rather than waiting the requisite year. Many divorces don’t bother trying to use adultery to fast-track their divorce this way.

This is because you must prove the adultery in court. You must also prove you did not support or condone the adultery in any way. For example if you knew about the adultery and let it go on a long time the judge might not let you use it as a grounds for a divorce.

Most people choose to separate for one year, and then start the divorce process.


Spousal Support

Adultery may have an impact on your Alberta spousal support arrangement, but not always. Much depends on whether your spouse has moved in with their paramour or not.

If your spouse has moved in with their new lover then this can be used as grounds to deny them the payment of spousal support. After all, theoretically they are receiving some financial support from the person they’re living with now, or are supporting that person.

The impact adultery can have on child custody is similar. Adultery alone won’t impact custody, but if it’s evident that the child will be spending a lot of time around this other person then their own background and conduct must be taken into account when generating custody arrangements, and adultery is not exactly a mark in their favor.


Division of Property

While it might seem unfair, adultery has absolutely no impact on the division of property. Put aside any notions of “taking everything” or punishing your spouse by taking a greater share of the marital property. All you’ll do make it harder for you and your spouse to reach a settlement, leading to a longer, more expensive divorce.

Accept that your spouse is entitled to 50% of the marital property, no matter what. In some cases, if your spouse is living with their lover, you might be able to use the other impacts this can have on the case to improve your bargaining position, but your division of property will still be very close to a 50/50 split in most cases.


Get Help from Merchant Law Today

While it is unfortunate that your spouse chose to cheat on you, your attention must now turn to protecting yourself legally and financially. Let the experienced team at Merchant Law help you negotiate a divorce settlement or argue your case in court today.

Call (780) 474-7777 to schedule your first appointment today. We’ll match you with an experienced attorney who has handled thousands of cases just like yours.

About Donald I.M. Outerbridge

Donald became the Executive Director of Merchant Law Group LLP starting in 1993, nearly 30 years ago. His experience managing law firms at various levels and in multiple provinces across Canada goes back even further to 1981.