| Read Time: 3 minutes | Divorce

Going through a divorce is a difficult experience. For some people in San Francisco considering divorce, infidelity is a major concern. You may be wondering, Does infidelity affect divorce in California? The answer is that it can in certain situations. California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning you don’t need to prove someone cheated to get a divorce. However, infidelity can still play an indirect role in some aspects of the divorce resolution. This blog will cover the legal implications of infidelity in California divorces. It focuses on how infidelity might affect asset division, alimony (spousal support), and child custody. 

No-Fault Divorce in California

Because California is a no-fault divorce state, you are allowed to file for divorce without a specific reason. It does not matter to the court who caused the breakdown of the marriage or if there was infidelity. In California, you only need to file a petition for dissolution of marriage and state your desire to end the marriage. 

While some states allow courts to consider infidelity to some degree in crafting a divorce decree, that is not the case in California. Thus, infidelity won’t directly affect your divorce in San Francisco. However, infidelity can still have an indirect impact on the court’s resolution of certain divorce issues. 

Asset Division

California is a community property state. This means that all property acquired during the marriage is considered property of the marriage. Community property is generally divided equally between the spouses. However, if your spouse used marital funds or incurred marital debt to support their affair, such as by paying for fancy dinners or vacations with their paramour, the court may factor that in when dividing assets. 

Let’s say you’ve been married for ten years. Your spouse has been racking up credit card debt to fund their affair without your knowledge. This debt would likely be considered community property, and you could be on the hook for half of it. However, California courts consider this to be a waste of marital assets and will consider it when dividing property during divorce. This is because your spouse owes certain fiduciary rights and obligations during the marriage. If you can prove your spouse knew you wouldn’t have approved of the spending and it wasn’t a legitimate marital expense, the judge may exclude this debt from the community property division.


Alimony, also known as spousal support, is financial assistance paid from one spouse to the other after a divorce. In California, the court considers many factors when deciding alimony. These factors include the length of the marriage, the income of each spouse, and their needs. Infidelity itself isn’t enough to deny or award alimony. However, there is a catchall phrase that says judges may consider any other factors they determine “just and equitable.” This means that while adultery typically isn’t a factor, its consequences could be considered in rare and extreme situations. 

Child Custody 

The main concern in child custody decisions is the child’s best interests. Infidelity itself doesn’t prevent a parent from getting custody. However, the judge will consider how the affair might impact the child’s emotional well-being in creating a custody agreement. For example, the court may take into account:

  • The parent’s relationship and bond with the child, could be affected by an affair;
  • Whether a relationship with a new paramour affects the parent’s ability to prioritize their child’s needs; and
  • Whether a new partner presents a danger to the child (e.g., they have a history of violence or substance abuse).

If you have a minor child and are worried about how infidelity might affect custody, talk to a lawyer. A lawyer with experience in child custody cases can make a big difference in your situation.

Navigating Divorce with Care and Expertise 

We hope this explanation has helped answer your question, Does infidelity affect divorce in California? As discussed, infidelity doesn’t affect whether you can file for divorce in California. But it can still impact the financial and child custody aspects of your divorce settlement. If you’re considering divorce in San Francisco and have concerns about how infidelity might affect the process, you should consult with a qualified divorce attorney.

The Law Offices of Ali Yousefi, P.C. is an award-winning firm with a strong track record of success. Attorney Ali Yousefi has been recognized for his excellence by Avvo (9.4 rating), Super Lawyers, the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys (Top 10 Under 40), and The American Institute (10 Best Attorneys In California). We prioritize reaching amicable agreements outside court, minimizing conflict and emotional strain for families during a challenging time. 

Whether your case is a simple divorce or a complicated one, we’ll stand up for you every step of the way. We give you our full attention, expertise, and commitment to help you achieve your goals. We’ll always answer your questions quickly and handle your case in the most affordable way possible. We know divorce is hard, and we’re here to help you through it. 
Take the first step toward resolving your divorce with care and expertise. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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Attorney Ali Yousefi is the founder of Law Offices of Ali Yousefi, P.C., and has distinguished himself as one of the leading lawyers in California. Ali values that his work allows him to make a direct, positive impact on the lives of people who have experienced stressful or traumatic events.

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