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Can a Spouse’s Infidelity Affect Child Custody?

Readers of this blog are probably familiar with recent news stories regarding the hacking of Ashley Madison, a dating website for people looking to have an extramarital affair. Since the data was released to the public, people across the country have initiated divorce proceedings after discovering their spouse’s account and want to know if infidelity plays a role in a divorce.

As noted in this article in Forbes, infidelity can affect just about every aspect of a divorce; this includes child custody. You may not think one has anything to do with the other, but the fact is that adultery can impact the determination of child custody cases across Florida.

Let’s imagine a scenario where a man and woman are divorcing in light of the discovery that the woman was cheating on her husband. They have two kids and are trying to figure out an appropriate child custody arrangement.

Their emotions could greatly affect how they discuss custody and whether they can resolve the matter on their own. She might be feeling quite guilty because of her affairs and decide not to fight the father when he says he wants to split custody equally, even if she truly wants primary custody.

On the other hand, the father may feel so hurt he may reject any attempt the mother makes to figure out a fair custody arrangement out of spite. This could drag out the process and the decision may ultimately have to be made by a judge.

The father may also try to keep their kids away from their mother if her behaviors could put the children in harm’s way. For instance, if she pursued and engaged in high-risk encounters with potentially dangerous people, it may not be safe for the children to spend more than a minimal amount of unsupervised time with her.

Broadly speaking, having an affair is not an indication of a person’s parenting skills, but it can and often does affect the emotional state and legal options of divorcing parents. Of course this is a very difficult situation, but it is crucial to remember that whether you cheated or were cheated on, determining child custody is — above all else — about what is best for your kids.

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