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What are the legal implications of adultery in a divorce in Ontario?

In Ontario, a divorce can be granted on the grounds of adultery if one spouse has committed adultery and the other spouse finds it intolerable to continue living together. Adultery can have significant legal implications in a divorce, including the potential for a greater division of property, spousal support, and child custody (Decision-making Responsibility). In this article, we will explore the legal implications of adultery in a divorce in Ontario as per divorce act.

Definition of Adultery

In Ontario, adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than their spouse. Adultery can be difficult to prove, as it requires evidence of both the sexual act and the knowledge and consent of both parties involved.

Impact on Property Division

Adultery can impact the division of property in a divorce in Ontario. Under the Family Law Act, the court is required to divide the property acquired during the marriage equally between the spouses, unless there are factors that make an equal division unfair. Adultery can be a factor that the court considers in determining the division of property, particularly if the adulterous spouse dissipated assets or used marital funds to support the affair.

Impact on Spousal Support

Adultery can also impact spousal support in a divorce in Ontario. The court may take into account the adulterous spouse’s behavior in determining whether spousal support is appropriate and how much should be paid. In some cases, the Superior court of justice may reduce or deny spousal support to the adulterous spouse.

Impact on Child Custody

Adultery is generally not a factor that the court considers in determining child custody in a divorce in Ontario. The court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child, and adultery is not considered relevant to that determination. However, if the adulterous spouse’s behaviour has a negative impact on the child, such as exposing the child to inappropriate conduct or causing emotional harm, it may be a factor that the court considers.

Impact on Divorce Proceedings

Adultery can impact the divorce proceedings in Ontario, particularly if the spouse who committed adultery is unapologetic or refuses to take responsibility for their actions. Adultery can create animosity between the spouses and make it more difficult to reach a settlement . In some cases, the adulterous spouse may try to deny or conceal their behavior, which can prolong the divorce proceedings and increase the legal costs.

Impact on Emotional Well-Being

Finally, adultery can have a significant impact on the emotional well-being of both spouses and any children involved in the divorce. Adultery can cause feelings of betrayal, anger, and hurt, and it can make it difficult for the spouses to communicate and work together towards a settlement. It is important for both spouses to seek support and counseling during the divorce process to help them deal with the emotional impact of adultery and the end of the marriage.