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When a Child Results From an Extra-Marital Affair

Photo of a gloomy young family with a sad little bou hugging a teddy bear, and his parents with depressed looks

Adultery is one of the most difficult and painful issues for married couples. A partner can stray for a variety of reasons, and reconciliation is possible, leading to the couple moving on to enjoy a stronger, healthier marriage as a result. However, forgiveness is not an easy process and there are times when it may not be possible. The situation can be more complex and painful when a child results from an affair. As experienced New Jersey family law attorneys, the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards has outlined some of the issues that need to be addressed in these cases. Contact us today for help with your case.

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If the Husband Has an Affair

Adultery is one of several fault grounds for divorce listed under section 2A:34-2 of the New Jersey Statutes. If the husband cheats on his wife and has an affair outside marriage, he can be considered at fault for the divorce. In order to use adultery as divorce grounds, there must be some evidence to substantiate these claims. A pregnancy that results from a spouse’s affair provides incontrovertible proof. Ways this may benefit the wife in a divorce include: 

  • Marital property division: In divorce proceedings, marital property and assets are divided on an equitable basis. If a spouse cheated, they may have given away marital property or spent money that belonged to both partners on the affair. As a result, the non-cheating partner may be entitled to a greater share in any resulting settlement or order issued in the case. 
  • Alimony: Alimony may be awarded by a judge when one spouse makes significantly more than the other, or when one sacrificed his or her own career or education for the sake of the marriage. If the earning spouse had an affair, it may increase the likelihood that the judge will award alimony as part of the divorce settlement. 

The fact that the husband had an affair resulting in a child may provide certain advantages to the wife in terms of the above. It can also negatively impact her rights if the couple also have children together. Regardless of the fact that he was married to another at the time of conception, the husband still has a duty to provide for the child fathered through the affair. This will impact his income and will be a consideration in any child support orders issued in the case. 

If the Wife Conceives a Child as a Result of an Affair

If the wife is the one who has an affair during the marriage and becomes pregnant as a result, it will impact the amount she may be entitled to in a settlement. In addition to potentially receiving less in marital property division proceedings, the affair bars her from receiving alimony as part of the divorce settlement.  In these types of cases, it is important to be aware of the implications regarding paternity. The New Jersey Department of Health advises that if the mother is married at the time of conception, birth, or for 300 days prior to having the baby, the husband will automatically be considered the father. Unless he files the appropriate documents removing his name from the birth certificate, he could be liable for child support payments, even though the child is not his. 

Our Middlesex Divorce Attorneys are Here to Help 

Adultery can have major ramifications on divorce proceedings and child custody or visitation cases. To protect your rights, get the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. on your side. To schedule a confidential consultation,  call or contact our Milltown divorce attorneys online today.

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