How Does Adultery Affect Divorce Settlements in Canada?

Richmond Tymchuk Family Law

How Does Adultery Affect Divorce Settlements in Canada?

Richmond Tymchuk Family Law

If you’re contemplating divorce from a spouse who has cheated, you’re probably a bit curious to know if that factor could impact your settlement. In this guide, we’ll provide insights into how adultery affects divorce in Canada, focusing on key aspects such as alimony, child custody, property division, and more. Our goal is to help you navigate this process and get the best outcome for your family.

Adultery as a Grounds for Divorce

In Canada, the Divorce Act cites the breakdown of a marriage as the primary grounds for seeking divorce. Adultery is included as one of the reasons that can establish this breakdown. However, it's essential to note that proving adultery does not automatically favour the non-adulterous spouse. 

Does Cheating Impact Spousal Support Payments?

When it comes to alimony, or spousal support, the occurrence of an affair generally does not directly affect the settlement. Spousal support in Canada is determined based on factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse's financial needs, and their ability to provide support. While adultery can contribute to the breakdown of the marriage, it typically does not impact the calculation of spousal support.

Adultery's Role in Child Custody Decisions

Child custody decisions prioritize the best interests of the child. Infidelity alone is not usually the sole determining factor in these decisions. However, if the adulterous behaviour directly affects the child's well-being or the unfaithful spouse's ability to parent, it may be taken into consideration. The court's primary focus remains on ensuring a stable and healthy environment for the child.

Division of Property and Adultery

In Canada, adultery generally does not have a direct impact on the division of property in a divorce settlement. The division of family property is typically based on the principle of equalization, where the value of property accumulated during the adult interdependent relationship or marriage is divided equally between the spouses. However, if the spousal infidelity has resulted in financial misconduct or dissipation of assets, it may be considered by the court.

Getting Divorced Faster Post-Adultery

In cases where adultery is the grounds for divorce, the non-faulted spouse can file for divorce without needing to wait through a separation period. This is different from other grounds for divorce, which may require a one-year separation period before filing.

Considerations When Filing for Divorce Based on Adultery

If you’re filing for divorce based on adultery, you’ll need to provide proof. Gathering this evidence may be challenging, as it often involves personal details and showing there’s a voluntary relationship outside the marriage. It’s a good idea to speak with a family lawyer experienced in divorce cases, as they can offer guidance on the type of proof required and assist with managing the legal process.

While adultery is a recognized ground for divorce in Canada, its direct impact on the divorce settlement is limited due to the no-fault approach of Canadian family law. Factors such as alimony, child custody, and property division are decided based on considerations that prioritize income differential, the well-being of children and the assets and debts of each party respectively, rather than solely on marital misconduct.

If you are considering filing for divorce, consulting with one of our experts at Richmond Tymchuk Family Law can help you navigate your specific situation.

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