The simple, direct answer to whether cheating will affect the outcome of a divorce in Washington State is no. As a no-fault divorce state, infidelity will have no bearing on the final division of property, parenting plan, or spousal maintenance. That can be a hard thing to hear, but most consider no-fault divorce a benefit.

A very brief history of divorce

Before the advent of no-fault divorce, the only way one could secure a divorce was to prove fault. That is, they had to prove that their spouse was either:

  • Dangerous
  • Unfaithful
  • Had left for an extended period of time
  • Had gone to prison
  • Could not perform sexually

While any one of those might seem exceedingly easy to prove, anyone with that feeling has never had to prove something in a court of law. Proof and facts are things that matter.

This means that when an abused partner pursued a divorce, if that person could not prove that their spouse was abusive, they could not move on. With the introduction of no-fault divorce, the necessity to establish a fault or provide a reason was removed, making the process easier for all.

“Irretrievable breakdown”

The one and only necessity for a divorce in Washington is to have an “irretrievable breakdown.”

Divorce- regardless of infidelity- strives for fairness

The end of a marriage is a difficult time for everyone involved. The law strives for an equal, fair split of assets and parenting time in all cases. The only consideration for deviation from equity in these orders is the possibility of a dangerous situation.

However, you may find it necessary to advocate for yourself in court. While fault will not influence your case, comprehensive, knowledgeable advocacy can make a big difference.