Affairs & Divorce: What You Need to Know

In News by YKF Law

Some marriages end because both individuals grow apart from one another, have conflicts that can’t be resolved, or, unfortunately, some end because of an affair. Perhaps you discovered your spouse was having an affair or maybe you’re the one who had an affair. Either way, according to the National Library of Medicine, over 21% of all divorces are the result of an affair.

Whether you are the spouse who discovered your ex was having an affair or you’re the one who had an affair, it can be emotionally draining to deal with. There’s much to learn about affairs and divorce and much to consider during the divorce process. 

If your marriage is ending as a result of an affair, continue reading to learn all about affairs and divorce, specifically everything you need to know to proceed with your divorce case.

How Does an Affair Affect Divorce?

If you’ve ever seen an 80s, 90s, or early 2000s rom-com, you know how Hollywood used to portray affairs. It was always implied that the main character (most often the wife) would discover her husband was having an affair by either searching his phone for proof, witnessing it firsthand, or finding out from family or friends. Fast forward a few scenes in the film and most likely the husband was required to pay a substantial amount of alimony or spousal maintenance because of the affair, while the female lead would live a lavish life.

Of course, Hollywood isn’t real and this isn’t a true depiction of how affairs affect a divorce case. An affair occurs when one spouse has a physical or emotional relationship with someone outside of their marriage. Infidelity can have a huge impact on your family’s emotions. However, it doesn’t affect divorce as much as you’d think compared to Hollywood films. Below is how how an affair affects divorce:

Missouri is a Modified No-Fault State

Regarding affairs and divorce, Missouri is a modified no-fault state. In other words, the court will grant a divorce if a judge finds the marriage is irretrievably broken and can’t be preserved. Since there is no requirement to prove your spouse was having an affair for the court to grant a divorce, you don’t need to provide your attorney with proof to get a divorce. However, affairs can impact spousal maintenance and assets and property division.

How do affairs affect spousal maintenance and property division? That depends on the judge and the proof you have. Suppose you have substantial proof your spouse was having an affair. In that case, a judge may divide assets and configure spousal maintenance differently than if the other spouse was not proven guilty of misconduct. Again, it depends on the judge assigned to your case and the evidence you have to prove that your spouse was deceitful.

Emotional Impact on Family

Legal impacts aside, affairs can have a major impact on your family. Emotions run high when a spouse discovers the other had an affair or vice versa. Regardless of who is guilty of infidelity, it can completely shatter one spouse’s heart and trust and can have a direct impact on your children. 

Try your best to be discreet regarding the divorce of your children. Refrain from talking badly about your spouse when your children are present. Though you may try your best to hide the infidelity from your children, it’s always a great idea to check in with them often throughout the divorce process. Keeping honest and open communication during the divorce will give them the support they need during this trying time. If you need assistance communicating with your child during the divorce process, we’re here to help. Check out some of our helpful resources:


Most often children are unaware that one of their parents had an affair, but sometimes they are the ones to find evidence of infidelity. Other times, when divorce is contested and the couple has a tumultuous relationship, children may overhear that an affair has occurred. 

Though affairs can emotionally impact your family, they most likely won’t impact custody agreements. However, if the children are endangered by infidelity, it could very well affect a judge’s decision on custody.

What Can I Do if My Spouse or I Had an Affair?

If you or your spouse had an affair and you think you’re headed for divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney to help. A dedicated divorce attorney can help guide you through the entire legal process from start to finish, offering advice about infidelity and how it affects your unique case.

If you need help with a divorce or establishing a parenting plan or modifying an existing parenting plan, or child custody, the Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC can help. We’re dedicated to the practice of family law and can help guide you through the entire process. Our office is in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. In addition to our physical location, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, and Platte County, Missouri. Contact our family law firm today to schedule a consultation – we can meet in person or via Zoom.

With over fifty-three years of combined legal experience, our family law firm is a team skilled in negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward. Our zealous team of attorneys will handle your case with expert knowledge and professionalism.