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Approaching Divorce If You’re the Cheater


When we think divorce that results from an extra-marital affair, we often think of it from the perspective of the victim in the situation—the spouse who was cheated on.

However, despite this tendency to automatically side with the person who was apparently wronged, there’s another perspective—the unfaithful spouse.

Regardless of why you cheated, or the situation surrounding the infidelity, you’re part of the divorce as well, and when you’re approaching the ending of a marriage as the party responsible for being unfaithful, there are tips you should follow.

Be Prepared to Be Truthful

When you cheat, you may feel shameful or embarrassed, but the number one thing to remember once you’ve reached the point of divorce is that you have to be truthful. You should start by being truthful with your spouse, but perhaps most importantly is being honest with your divorce lawyer.

When you’re truthful with your divorce lawyer, you’re more prepared to not only be honest during the divorce proceedings, but you can be honest carefully, meaning you’re not at risk for perjury, but you can also portray yourself in the best light.

The most beneficial thing you can do for yourself is to find a divorce lawyer you feel comfortable enough with to be completely honest, and to feel as if your lawyer is your partner in the process.

Don’t Bring Another Person Into the Equation

There are so many different circumstances that can surround infidelity leading to divorce. It could have been a mistake or a one-night encounter, or it may be something more that develops into a relationship.

In fact, getting a divorce could be your decision, because you’re choosing to be with the other person.

Regardless of the situation, it’s often best from a personal and legal standpoint to avoid bringing the other person around until the divorce is final. There can be negative consequences in terms of the division of assets and divorce and custody agreements, and it can also have a potentially harmful impact on your children and entire family.

Don’t Fall Victim to Threats

If you’re the cheater in your relationship you may be incredibly worried about losing everything or never being able to see your children again, particularly if these are threats repeated by an angry spouse.

Rather than losing your cool or panicking, the best thing you can do is speak with a divorce attorney as soon as possible, and legally prepare yourself for the possibilities.

Many of the things you’ll hear from your spouse are empty threats inspired by anger, so don’t let them dictate your behavior or decisions.

Additionally, don’t let your own guilt guide how you parent your children. Just because you cheated in your marriage doesn’t mean you can’t still be a parent to your children, but many former spouses use cheating as leverage during custody cases. Be smart, and think logically rather than letting your emotions cripple you in terms of custody and parenting.

Finally, when you’re the cheater in a situation, you may find yourself agreeing to things with your former spouse just to ease your guilt or placate that person. This is not a wise long-term strategy. The best thing you can do is only agree to things with the guidance of your attorney, and follow the right procedures and guidelines you would follow even if you weren’t the person responsible for cheating in the relationship. 

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