I frequently meet with new clients shortly after they or their spouse have revealed or discovered an affair in their marriage. Divorce after an affair is always a painful situation for everyone involved. Emotions run high. On one hand there is anger, hurt, and grief. On the other hand might be guilt, shame, and displaced anger. People feel insecure and confused and are wondering what to do at this point.
Ever situation is unique. Maybe a spouse had an affair that is now over. Or, maybe the affair is still going on and the person is leaving because of the relationship. But one important aspect in every case is that it is important to address the feelings that come up in divorce after an affair. Failing or refusing to talk about the complex and deep emotions can make the divorce more difficult, and can lead to physical and emotional issues.
It is important to note that, while New York law gives the aggrieved spouse the right to get divorced after an affair. . . but doesn’t offer financial compensation. In other words, NYS law does not provide a punishment for an adulterous So, looking to the law to find a way to manage the feelings that arise in divorce after an affair can feel frustrating and unfair, and can be destructive to your own wellbeing.
Some other states deal differently with adultery. In some states, a spouse who has been cheated on can be relieved of the obligation of spousal support regardless of other factors. In almost all US jurisdictions including New York , if a spouse uses marital assets to support an extra-marital relationship, those monies can sometimes be refunded to the other.
Dealing with Divorce after an affair
One thing I have noticed is that the people who deal most successfully with this situation are able to separate their actions from their emotions. In other words they are able to act in their own interests rather than react to the revealed the affair.
People who are able to think about where they want to go and what this event means to and for them before they do anything are best able to survive the impact financially and emotionally and help their children through a resulting separation or divorce. Some of the things that people do to successfully manage the impact of divorce after an affair are:
- Carefully consider whether the marriage can or should survive.
- Thoughtfully consider their finances, including their children’s education, their housing situation and their retirement funds.
- Protect their children from the details of their parent’s intimate lives.
For some people, fidelity is the bottom line in a marriage. The fact of an affair means it’s over and there are no other considerations. Other people may feel that infidelity is an indication that something is not working well in the marriage, and so they want to work on identifying and exploring the problem further. There is no right or wrong answers. Divorce after an affair is a confusing time for all involved.
Cheating is hurtful, often to both spouses. It is extremely painful and can even be traumatic. And, it can lead to making decisions based on resentment, anger, and vengefulness.
Getting some emotional help can make a huge difference in the outcome of your divorce. More specifically, a therapist and/or a divorce coach will help you get through and even thrive through the divorce process, despite all the negative feelings you might have towards a cheating spouse. How? They are here to help you manage your feelings, empower you, and guide you through the process. Having knowledge—about finances, real estate and other assets, divorce laws and more leads to better, smarter decision-making during the divorce.
I am here if you’d like a consultation, and I can also recommend other divorce professionals to help you get through your divorce is dignity, and with as little stress as possible.
Katherine E. Miller is a Divorce Attorney, who is also a certified mediator and a trained collaborative divorce professional. In practice for over 30 years and personally divorced, Miller is the founder of the Miller Law Group, all women’s boutique law firm with seven divorce professionals. Miller is also the Director at the Center for Understanding in Conflict, the organization that teaches mediation, collaborative law and other conflict resolution skills, and she hosts the podcast and radio show, “Divorce Dialogues.” Additionally, Miller is the former president of the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals. She is a graduate of Vassar College and Fordham University school of Law. Learn more: Miller-law.com.
Like this article? Check out, “How to Deal with Anger and Rage During Divorce”