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After-affair guilt could impact divorce negotiations

After finding out that your spouse cheated, your emotions may have run wild. You certainly felt betrayed and angry, but you may also have felt as if it was somehow your fault. You may even have given substantial thought as to whether you and your spouse could overcome this affair and continue the marriage.

In the end, you decided that divorce best suited the situation. Maybe your spouse wants to move forward in life with his or her new romantic interest, or perhaps you simply could not overcome the emotional turmoil and breaking of trust the affair caused. Still, you could potentially use the affair as leverage during your divorce proceedings.

No-fault state

Because Washington is a no-fault divorce state, the fact that your spouse cheated will have little bearing on your case in the eyes of the court. However, if he or she used a considerable amount of marital funds on the third party, whether for a home, vacations or gifts, you may have the chance to argue that you are entitled to at least some of those funds because Washington is also a community property state.

Leverage

While the court may not have the ability to give you more in the settlement simply because your spouse cheated, you may be able to use the information to your advantage if you wish. In the event that you and your soon-to-be ex conduct settlement negotiations outside of court, you may have the ability to use the guilt your spouse feels over the affair to obtain a better outcome for yourself.

Even if the other party does not necessarily feel guilty about his or her actions, you may still have the potential to use the affair to your financial advantage if your spouse wants the proceedings to move along quickly in order to start a new relationship. He or she may feel more willing to meet your demands if it means ending the process in a timely manner.

Hold off on revenge

While you may still feel the emotional sting of having a cheating spouse, you may want to hold off on using your divorce as a way to seek revenge. Certainly, you can work toward the outcomes you desire, but if you attempt to fight your spouse on every detail and draw the divorce process out as long as possible, you may only end up hindering your own financial stability.

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