Is Adultery an Acceptable Reason for Divorce?

While certainly a justifiable excuse, the reason for divorce and filing for a dissolution of marriage are not always applicable. In the state of Arizona, you will file a petition to dissolve the marriage, and if you are the individual filing, you will be deemed the Petitioner.

Do You Provide Your Reasons for Divorce?

Arizona is a no-fault state; therefore, you do not have to give a reason for the divorce. So, if your spouse was adulterous and that was the cause of the divorce petition, you still only tell the courts that your marriage is irretrievably broken. If, however, you are seeking a covenant marriage, then you must prove grounds for fault in your divorce per A.R.S. Section 25-903. Adultery would be grounds under this statute in that event.

Adultery and Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance, known in some states as alimony, is the monetary support you would request from a spouse during a divorce.

Divorces are turbulent, and they bring out heightened emotions. While you might feel bitter about your spouse’s extramarital affairs, you cannot use spousal support payments to punish. Instead, the courts have strict rules for what constitutes appropriate spousal support.

For example, a person seeking maintenance must prove that they cannot support themselves through appropriate employment, will not have sufficient assets post-divorce to provide for their own support, is of an age where they will be unable to be self-sufficient, or are the caretaker for a young or disabled child such that work outside the home is impossible. Once need is established, the amount and duration of support will be determined after consideration of several statutory factors usually with a  goal towards independence for the spouse seeking maintenance.

Adultery does not play a role or affect the amount of award you will receive during your divorce unless there needs to be some form of compensation for the use of community property funds or assets to further that affair.

The Covenant Marriage

If you and your spouse have a covenant marriage, which is one that the parties would have specifically sought at the time they obtained the marriage license (or specifically sought a conversion after the marriage), then you are entitled to file with a fault basis for your divorce. Therefore, your spouse’s adultery could then be used in the divorce proceeding to establish grounds for the divorce itself.

Determining how adultery plays a role in a divorce case is complicated; therefore, it is in your best interest to speak with a family law attorney. Contact the attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC today.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Reason for Divorce, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Barry C. Dickerson at 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools, and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.