Can you get a marriage annulment if your spouse cheated? (2023)

Can you get a marriage annulment if your spouse cheated? (1)

Discovering that a spouse has been cheating is a huge stressor in a marriage. But can a marriage be annulled over a spouse carrying on an extramarital affair? Here’s an answer to this frequently asked question.



Would it be possible to have my marriage annulled since I found out my spouse cheated on me? We have only been married for three months. I have no idea if the affair pre-dates our wedding.

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When sudden and severe problems erupt in a marriage, such as adultery, wondering if an annulment is appropriate is a common reaction.

(Video) Family Law : How to Annul a Marriage

It is easiest to understand what an annulment is by contrasting it with a divorce. While bothannulment and divorcedissolve a marriage and allow both spouses to return to their single status, where they once again have the ability to remarry, there are certain differences in how the two legal processes treat the marriage. An annulment cancels a marriage in such a way that it is completely and legally erased. Annulling a marriage means that it was never valid, and therefore, never existed. A divorce, on the other hand, still recognizes the couple as once married. In a divorce, you go through a process where you divide your marital assets and can pursue alimony as needed. Annulment does not offer this same process.

Annulments are a bit harder to obtain than a divorce, and in order for your marriage to be annulled, you must prove to the court that you have valid grounds to be annulled.

(Video) The Truth About Annulments

Is cheating one of these grounds? In most cases, the answer is usually no, finding out your spouse is cheating on you is usually not grounds for an annulment. But there can be some nuance to this if certain extenuating circumstances are present. For example, did your husband hide the fact before your marriage that his cheating partner was pregnant with his child or already had a child with him? Or, did you discover that your spouse was secretly married to his paramour? These types of untruths and misrepresentation of facts related to your decision to be married can be reasonable grounds for annulment.

Learn more about grounds for annulment.

(Video) Will I Benefit If My Spouse Cheated

Wondering if an annulment or divorce is the best path forward? Learn about your rights and options by scheduling a attorney consultation. Safeguarding your future starts now. Call us today at 888-888-0919 or please click the green button below.

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(Video) Separated But Not Divorced: Should You Date Him?


What happens in a divorce when a spouse cheats? ›

In California, a no-fault divorce state, adultery is neither illegal nor grounds for divorce. No-fault divorce means that you don't need to prove wrongdoing of any kind; if one or both of you believe your marriage is beyond saving and want out, you can get divorced.

What kind of proof do you need for cheating in a divorce? ›

The person alleging adultery must prove that their spouse committed an adulterous act via direct evidence (e.g., eyewitness accounts; admissions by the guilty spouse and/or the paramour) or, more often, via circumstantial evidence.

What states can you sue your spouse for cheating? ›

States Recognizing Alienation of Affection

If you live in Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, or Utah, you have legal recourse should someone intrude into your marriage by having an affair with your spouse. The rest of the country has struck down its laws related to adultery.

Can you sue if your spouse cheats? ›

Moreover, California does not have a criminal statute against adultery. This means you typically cannot sue someone for having an affair with your husband.

What to do legally when your spouse cheats? ›

The person with whom your wife cheated is a danger to you

You can seek a civil restraining order against that person if his (or her) conduct rises to the level of harassment or a threat of harm to you. Such restraining orders are usually outside of the family law forum.

Is a wife entitled to half of everything if she cheated? ›

The answer is no. It is a common misconception that infidelity can ultimately allow one spouse to take more than an equal share of marital property. The hard truth is, if you go to court you will have to spend tens of thousands of dollars and up to two or more years before a judge hears your case.

How much evidence do you need to prove infidelity? ›

You may be surprised to learn that proving adultery could be easier than you think. You do not require definitive proof of adultery. Many spouses assume that it is necessary to provide hard proof of their spouse's adultery, such as pictures or videotapes. Although this is a possibility, it certainly isn't necessary.

Can phone records be used to prove adultery? ›

Using Phone Records to Prove Adultery

When a spouse suspects adultery, the information in any of their shared phone records can be used against the other. Even if the suspected spouse elects not to provide those records, your attorney can petition the court to get them from your carrier.

Is texting considered adultery? ›

Inappropriate texting in a relationship can be considered cheating in a committed relationship, depending on how the couple define infidelity. Cheating can come in many different forms, such as physical or sexual affairs, emotional affairs and online affairs.

What states have homewrecker law? ›

As of 2022, only Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah still allow alienation of affection lawsuits. And even though these suits might still technically be allowed, courts in most of these states have expressed a dislike for them.

What are your rights if your husband commits adultery? ›

No. California is a no-fault divorce state, and it does not have laws against adultery.

What state is the hardest to get a divorce? ›

The 5 Hardest States To Get A Divorce:
  • Vermont.
  • Rhode Island.
  • South Carolina.
  • Arkansas.
  • California. Related.

What states is adultery a crime? ›

In 2022, adultery by some definition is still a crime in 16 states: Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Idaho, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Utah, New York, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Can I divorce my husband for cheating? ›

If you are able to prove fault, including adultery, the Judge can consider your spouse's fault in ruling on the divorce. This includes, for example, awarding the innocent spouse a greater portion of the marital assets, a greater amount of alimony (or less alimony to be paid), or even a more favorable parenting plan.

What should you not do after infidelity? ›

The 7 Deadly Sins: What Not To Do After an Affair
  • Tell Your Entire Family & All Your Friends. ...
  • Blast Your Partner on Social Media. ...
  • Make Life Altering Decisions. ...
  • Place All Blame on The Other Affair Partner. ...
  • Obsess Over the Other Affair Partner. ...
  • Blame Yourself. ...
  • Think You Can Recover On Your Own.

Do you get half of everything in a divorce if you cheat? ›

There is a legal issue called marital waste. If you spend large amounts of community assets (typically in the form of dinners or vacations) on the affair, then a judge may require you to compensate your spouse for half of the assets used.

Does cheating always end in divorce? ›

But infidelity doesn't always cause a divorce: Marriages can heal and recover even when there has been a betrayal. American Psychological Association research found that 20-40% of divorces are caused by an affair.

Does infidelity affect assets? ›

California is a community property state. This means that property and assets acquired during the marriage will be divided equally in divorce. If a spouse had an extramarital affair, the process of dividing property is usually not affected.

What is the 80/20 rule infidelity? ›

In it, something called the 80/20 rule is mentioned. Basically the theory is that when a person cheats, they tend to be attracted to the 20 percent in another person that is missing from the spouse. However, they usually end up realizing that they were much better off with the 80 percent that they already had.

What's the difference between adultery and infidelity? ›

Adultery means engaging in physical sexual activity. Infidelity can be either being emotionally or physically engaged. Adultery is considered a criminal offense and as grounds for divorce in certain jurisdictions. Infidelity is not considered as a criminal offence, and neither is it considered grounds for divorce.

What is a full disclosure after infidelity? ›

Full disclosure is essentially the acting out partner giving a complete account to their spouse/partner of all sexual behaviors from the inception of the relationship and forward. Understandably, this is a very challenging day for both partners.

Can you hire someone to see if your spouse is cheating? ›

Hiring a private investigator (PI) will provide you with the information you need fast. PIs can gather video, photos, and other evidence that can determine if your spouse is cheating and they can testify about what they observed during their Infidelity investigations.

Do cell phone records show text messages? ›

Text messaging is shown in call detail records. However, the content of text messages is not. To get the content of text messages, a request must be made to the phone company within days of the incident.

Can Snapchat messages be recovered for divorce? ›

If a spouse involved in a divorce refuses to willingly provide his or her social media history, a divorce attorney can subpoena this information. The attorney can also compel releases in order to get this information.

Will a judge look at text messages? ›

When can text messages be used in court? Before text messages can be introduced into a case, they have to be legally obtained as evidence. Buckfire says that if a person doesn't voluntarily provide their cell phone, an attorney can obtain a court order or subpoena to gain access to relevant messages.

What is Microcheating? ›

Micro-cheating is of course not a psychological term. It is simply an internet-friendly shorthand for describing one partner testing the limits of partnership by creating intimacy with someone else, yet without veering into a sexual relationship with them. And it's surprisingly common.

How far back can text messages be traced? ›

All of the providers retained records of the date and time of the text message and the parties to the message for time periods ranging from sixty days to seven years. However, the majority of cellular service providers do not save the content of text messages at all.

Can I sue my wife's lover for emotional distress? ›

While you can't file a lawsuit just for emotional distress, if you win your case for criminal conversation or alienation of affection, you can be compensated for the damages, including emotional distress, that you suffered. Compensatory damages are monies that the court can award you to make you whole again.

Which state has the easiest divorce laws? ›

Alaska, Nevada, and South Dakota can usually finalize a divorce in just under two months. Of course, each divorce is different and your particular circumstances could cause a delay. For example, the fastest divorces are ones in which you and your Soon-to-Be-Ex agree on everything (an uncontested divorce).

What is the punishment for adultery in USA? ›

Adultery remains a Class B Misdemeanor crime that carries with it the maximum penalty of up to three months imprisonment and a $500 fine. Prosecution for adultery could also attract unwanted attention from the media, due to the rarity of the use of the statute, to private marital and extra-marital relations.

Who has the right to file a case of adultery? ›

Pursuant to Art. 344 of the Revised Penal Code, only the offended husband can file the criminal case for adultery, NOBODY ELSE. This is jurisdictional and failure to follow this will result in the dismissal of the criminal case.

Can a husband file a case against his wife for adultery? ›

Under the Hindu Marriage Act, Section 13(1)(i) makes adultery a ground for divorce. The Husband can file a petition before the District Court for a decree of divorce. Under the Special Marriage Act, Section 27(1)(a) is a ground for divorce based on adultery.

What is the number 1 reason for divorce in America? ›

Lack of commitment is the most common reason given by divorcing couples according to a recent national survey. Here are the reasons given and their percentages: Lack of commitment 73% Argue too much 56%

What year of marriage is divorce most common? ›

While there are countless divorce studies with conflicting statistics, the data points to two periods during a marriage when divorces are most common: years 1 – 2 and years 5 – 8. Of those two high-risk periods, there are two years in particular that stand out as the most common years for divorce — years 7 and 8.

What is the quickest divorce you can get? ›

It Is Possible to Get a Quick Divorce

The easiest type of divorce, which takes the least amount of time, is called an uncontested divorce. This relatively fast divorce happens because all of the major issues have been agreed upon by you and your spouse.

Can you go to jail for cheating on your spouse in USA? ›

Until the mid-20th century, most U.S. states (especially Southern and Northeastern states) had laws against fornication, adultery or cohabitation. These laws have gradually been abolished or struck down by courts as unconstitutional. State criminal laws against adultery are rarely enforced.

What are the punishments for adultery? ›

In the United States, punishment for adultery can vary widely from state to state, from life imprisonment (Michigan) to a small monetary fine (Maryland). However, though adultery laws may still be on the books in the U.S., they are rarely enforced.

Can I date while going through a divorce? ›

While some people come out of a divorce feeling broken and needing time to heal, others may want to date right away. This is especially common if one person mentally checked out of the marriage long before the other. While dating during a divorce is not illegal, it can certainly complicate the entire process.

What happens when a spouse cheats in a marriage? ›

Infidelity undermines the very foundation of marriage in many ways. It causes heartbreak and devastation, loneliness, feelings of betrayal, and confusion to one or both spouses in a marriage. Some marriages break after an affair. Others survive, become stronger and more intimate.

Does adultery affect divorce settlement? ›

Whilst it might be viewed as unfair by some, adultery has no bearing on any financial settlement. In nearly all cases, the judge won't try to blame or penalise either party, except in very rare circumstances. Financial settlements/ entitlements are based on different criteria to the divorce process.

What happens in a marriage when a spouse cheats? ›

Infidelity undermines the very foundation of marriage in many ways. It causes heartbreak and devastation, loneliness, feelings of betrayal, and confusion to one or both spouses in a marriage. Some marriages break after an affair. Others survive, become stronger and more intimate.

How much compensation for adultery in divorce? ›

In the case of adultery, there will be no Alimony. It should be proven to the court that one of the spouses is unfaithful. If the marriage is over quickly, there will be no or little alimony. The longer the marriage lasts, the more the amount will be as Support amount in divorce.

Can my husband sue me for adultery? ›

A: Adultery is illegal in some states, but not in California. Although it may not be moral, your friend cannot be sued for adultery, or so-called alienation of affection (in other words, causing the marital break-up).

When should you walk away after infidelity? ›

These are seven signs that it might be time to walk away from your relationship if infidelity has occurred: Your partner doesn't apologize. Your spouse doesn't want to get counselling. Your partner doesn't show a desire to put in the work.

When should you end a marriage after cheating? ›

To determine when it's time to walk away after infidelity depends on the willingness of both partners to resolve their issues. If either of them doesn't make an effort to sustain the relationship, it's best to leave regardless of how painful it may be.

Should I divorce my husband who cheated on me? ›

As absurd as it might seem, you might not want to take cheating personally in case your spouse is a habitual cheater. In this case, there's little you can do to fix the situation, so filing for divorce might be the most reasonable option for you.


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