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Can adultery be grounds for a divorce?

In many states, demonstrating that a spouse has cheated serves no purpose other than airing the couple's dirty laundry. However, some states may require proving some sort of fault in divorce cases. Adultery is a ground for divorce in Tennessee, though no-fault options are also available. Knowing how to deal with infidelity before getting a divorce can help a spouse make more informed decisions about his or her marriage.

Before making decisions about the marriage, a spouse who learns about an infidelity may want to take some time to heal and evaluate the marriage. Making an important decision while emotionally raw can be a mistake. Some spouses may be able to work through such a dramatic event in their marriage, but even spouses who decide to split can benefit from the extra time to get their financial and emotional affairs in order before proceeding with the divorce.

Tennessee has no-fault grounds for divorce and at-fault grounds. No-fault grounds in the state include irreconcilable differences and living separate for two years if there are no minor children involved. If a spouse files for a no-fault divorce, he or she has no obligation to prove any wrongdoing on the other spouse's part. However, if a spouse's unfaithful behavior affects the children of the marriage or endangers them, a family court can take this information and evidence into consideration due to the legal standard of determining what is in the children's best interests.

If a spouse believes that the other parent's ability to parent his or her child, the spouse may discuss potential options with a Tennessee family law attorney. A lawyer may be able to explain various options regarding the divorce, child custody and visitation, as well as how the court may evaluate information about infidelity.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: A Cheating Heart and Its Role in Divorce", Caroline Choi, October 01, 2013

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