As virtually everyone now knows, Ashley Madison is a website which promises to arrange extra-marital affairs for its paying clientele. The site was recently hacked and the identities of its users were released to the public this summer.
With the slogan “Life is Short. Have an Affair” Ashley Madison reportedly attracted 37 million members, many of whom reside in New Jersey. It therefore comes as no surprise that our firm has been fielding a number of inquiries about adultery and the role it plays in New Jersey divorce litigation.
The answer—which is surprising to many people—is that it has very little effect.
In 1971, New Jersey began to permit “no fault” divorce based on 18 months of continuous separation.
Then, in 2007, the New Jersey divorce statute was further amended to permit divorces based on “irreconcilable differences,” a ground which does not even require that a couple be separated prior to the filing of a Complaint for Divorce. This amendment was hailed as a way of allowing New Jersey divorcing couples to keep their private lives out of the courtroom.
Of course, an aggrieved party can still choose to file for divorce in New Jersey on a “fault” ground, one of which is adultery.
The question then becomes: Will that have an impact on how much of the marital assets/debts or alimony that the aggrieved party will receive in a New Jersey divorce?
Again the answer is “no,” except in very limited cases where the adulterer has spent significant sums of money or dissipated marital assets to support his or her extra-marital relationship.
Does adultery have an impact on a New Jersey Family Court’s child custody determination?
Yet again, the answer to that question is generally “no,” unless the adulterer is an otherwise unfit parent.
Nevertheless, adultery is clearly an emotionally devastating event, which often is what leads to a decision to divorce and makes it more difficult to resolve all of the issues.
Salvaggio Law Group LLC devotes its entire practice to New Jersey divorce and family law matters. If you want to talk, call us at (973) 455-1220 or fill out the Contact Form on our website.