It’s not unusual for our lawyers to hear from clients that the reason they are separating is because one person had an affair. It is a common issue that many of our clients become fixated upon when talking about who should get what in their property settlement.
More times than not, it’s the view of the person who has been cheated on that there should be some resulting adjustment made to them for the pain and heartache caused by their partner’s infidelity, particularly when this may have been the main catalyst for separation.
Australia has, for many years, operated on a ‘no-fault’ divorce system. This means that it doesn’t matter whether they cheated on you or not. The only thing you need to prove is that your marriage has come to an end and that you have no prospect of getting back together.
This ‘no-fault’ system is also reflected in the property settlement system. So, unfortunately, as we say to many of our clients, there is no ‘cheater uplift’ that you get to receive if your partner has been unfaithful and brought the relationship to an end. This is often a very difficult reality for clients to hear, particularly when they have come to us feeling like they have been wronged and that they should receive some kind of compensation for the wrong that their partner has committed against them.
However, the legal reality of the way that property will be divided at separation depends on a range of factors, such as:
- How long you have been together
- What your contributions were at the beginning of and throughout the relationship
- The income you are each earning
- If there are any children remaining under the age of 18
- How old those children are, and who will have primary care of them moving forward