How Does Infidelity Affect Divorce in Massachusetts?

Husband catches wife cheating on phone

In Massachusetts, infidelity may not have a significant impact on divorce proceedings. While adultery can be grounds for a fault-based divorce, most divorces are filed as no-fault, meaning misconduct by either spouse typically does not influence the division of property or custody decisions. That being said, if marital assets were used to further an affair, this could affect the division of those assets. The court may adjust property division to account for the dissipation of marital resources spent on an affair. However, alimony awards cannot be denied solely due to infidelity, although the misuse of marital assets can be a factor in the court’s decision. Infidelity may also impact child custody and visitation if it can be shown to have an adverse effect on the children​.

Divorce is never a simple affair, especially when it involves infidelity. In Massachusetts, the emotional strain of a marriage ending due to an affair is compounded by legal implications. This article aims to shed light on the subject, helping you navigate the complexities of how infidelity might affect your divorce process in the Bay State.

Infidelity and Divorce Laws
in Massachusetts

Massachusetts law allows for both fault-based and no-fault divorces. While infidelity can be grounds for a fault-based divorce, such cases are relatively rare. Most divorces in the state are filed on a no-fault basis, which typically expedites the process and avoids the need for proving wrongdoing. However, when infidelity is involved and becomes part of the case, it can introduce additional considerations, especially related to the division of assets and alimony.

Asset Division and Alimony
After an Affair

In the event of a divorce, Massachusetts strives for an equitable division of property, but ‘equitable’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘equal’. If marital funds were spent on an extramarital affair, this could influence how assets are divided. For instance, if one spouse used joint savings for expensive gifts or trips with a lover, the court might compensate the other spouse with a greater share of remaining assets.

As for alimony, infidelity per se does not dictate the terms. However, if infidelity resulted in financial recklessness or misuse of marital resources, this could be a factor in determining alimony payments. It’s worth noting that the court’s main concern is fairness and the financial needs of the spouses post-divorce, rather than penalizing misconduct.

Child Custody and
Proving Infidelity

When it comes to child custody, the best interests of the child are paramount. A spouse’s affair might only become relevant if it can be shown to have a direct negative impact on the children. And while proving infidelity can be impactful in some cases, it is often a difficult and sensitive endeavor. Evidence must be legally obtained, and accusations must be substantiated with more than just hearsay.

Affordable Massachusetts Divorce Solutions

An affordable divorce is possible. At Afford Law, our fees are based on your income, so the less you earn, the less you pay. Our mission is to provide experienced legal help you can afford.

If you can’t afford our lower rates for a traditional attorney-client relationship, you have another option. Our legal coaching service can save you money and still give you access to a skilled attorney. In this arrangement, you represent yourself in court while we work with you behind the scenes to prepare you every step of the way. This service is available to you for one low monthly fee.


Infidelity adds a layer of complexity to the already challenging process of divorce. Understanding the legal landscape is crucial, and so is having an experienced attorney who can navigate these troubled waters. Remember, every divorce is unique, and the impact of an affair will vary from case to case.

Legal Disclaimer

This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney to discuss your specific circumstances and receive tailored guidance.

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