Recently, news broke that actress/model Emily Ratajkowski and her husband, Sebastian Bear-McClard, are getting divorced. According to the Huffington Post, Ratajkowski has hinted that the reason the celebrity couple is divorcing is because Bear-McClard cheated on her. Reportedly, Ratajkowski is the one who decided to get a divorce. The couple has been married since 2018 and shares a 1-year-old son. While Ratajkowski “liked” a tweet that said that Bear-McClard cheated on her, there has been no official confirmation that Sebastian committed adultery as of this report.
How Can Adultery Impact Divorce in New York?
Adultery can impact divorce on several levels in New York. However, you must be able to prove cheating accusations for it to have a real impact. The following are a few of the ways that adultery can affect divorce in New York:
- Grounds – New York is a no-fault divorce state. That means that you do not need to give a reason for why you’re filing for divorce. However, you can give a reason for your divorce if you choose. This is known as providing grounds for your divorce, and one of the options that you can provide as grounds for your divorce is adultery.
- Child Custody – As long as the affair does not affect a divorcing couple’s children’s lives directly, adultery does not have an impact on child custody. Ways that an affair could directly impact a child include an extramarital partner behaving inappropriately towards the child, the affair happening in front of the child in a way that is disturbing for the child, or the affair leading to the cheating parent becoming absent in the child’s life.
- Alimony – In most cases, adultery has no impact on alimony decisions. The exception is if an excessive amount of marital assets were used by the spouse engaging in the affair. This can include using assets to pay for vacations with or buy expensive gifts for their extramarital partner.
- Property Division – When it comes to property division, adultery can have a major impact. The court can consider “egregious behavior” when making decisions regarding division of property. In this case, egregious behavior does not refer to the act of committing adultery. Instead, it refers to the act of using marital assets as part of the affair. For example, if a spouse uses marital assets to pay for hotel rooms where they have affairs, bankroll vacations they take with a person they’re having an affair with, or buy expensive gifts for their extramarital partner, those actions would be considered egregious behavior. Whatever the cheating spouse spent on the affair must be counted, and the total deducted from the amount of marital assets they otherwise would have received.
Please be aware that proving a spouse committed adultery can sometimes be difficult. For adultery to have an impact on a divorce, one person must fully prove that their spouse cheated. This means that even if someone walked in on their spouse having an affair, they still must provide evidence to prove it in court. Evidence can include text messages, emails, photographs, phone records, voicemails, video recordings, and eyewitness testimony.
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At Levi Divorce & Family Law Attorneys, we understand how emotionally devastating divorces can be, especially if the divorce stems from adultery. Our experienced divorce lawyers have represented clients on both sides of adultery allegations. We know how to handle the emotionally-charged atmospheres that these types of situations present.
Our divorce attorneys can ensure your legal rights are protected during negotiations involving child custody, alimony, and property division, and we understand how to help you secure the most favorable outcome possible for your situation.
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