The simple answer is – no, not in Australia it doesn’t.
This is a question that family lawyers find themselves answering a lot. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint, adultery or cheating doesn’t make a difference to how the Court deals with family law matters.
In relation to divorce, Australia has had what is known as “no fault divorce laws” since the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) was established in 1975. Before then, you needed to provide evidence of some type of “fault” such as adultery, abuse, drunkenness, insanity or abandonment before you could obtain a divorce which was just expensive and stressful (and public!) for everyone involved.
Now, a couple only needs to live separate lives (even under the one roof) before applying for a divorce. If you would like to discuss how to obtain a divorce while separated under the one roof, feel free to contact us.
In relation to property settlement, cheating or adultery doesn’t make any difference. We will discuss what the Court looks at when dividing assets and liabilities in future blog posts.
And, finally, in relation to parenting matters, adultery or cheating is unlikely to make a difference. While it may speak to the cheating party’s character, unless there was a risk to the child (for example, exposure to inappropriate behaviour or people), then the Court won’t take cheating into consideration.
And there is also a trap for the wounded party who spends too long discussing their cheating ex in their Affidavit material – this can raise flags for the Court that it isn’t the best interests of the child you are considering but your own feelings.
This is a good reason to get some legal advice before (and during) representing yourself in family law proceedings. We’re here to help.