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Did your spouse cheat? It may not mean much in the divorce

By now, most people in Oregon have heard about the hack that made the list of Ashley Madison users available to the public. The discovery of a spouse on the hacked list would almost certainly come as a surprise, and for some, it might even lead to divorce. However, when it comes to the divorce settlement, infidelity might not actually mean much.

For those who choose to file for divorce after discovering that their spouse has been unfaithful, there is often a misconception about who has the power in the proceedings. Absent of extenuating circumstances -- such as abuse or domestic violence -- no one person has more power than the other. When filing for a no-fault divorce, a settlement still focuses on equitable distribution, or what is most fair to both parties.

This also extends to issues over child custody. A hurt spouse might want more parenting time, but child custody agreements are designed to address what is in the best needs of the child. While adultery might be a painful experience, it does not make a person unfit to be a parent and certainly does not negate the benefit of being active in a child's life.

While hurt feelings are a common experience during divorce, the proceedings should still be respected as a path toward an equitable and fair divorce settlement. In the absence of domestic violence, no party has any real power over the other; however, some people in Oregon who feel especially wronged might have trouble reaching an agreeable settlement through mediation. Although it is possible to then proceed to court, a judge will have the final say concerning the agreement.

Source: Forbes, "How Your Spouse's Ashley Madison Account Can Impact Your Divorce", Emma Johnson, Aug. 24, 2015

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