Infidelity can certainly be emotionally costly on a Maryland marriage, but it could be costly on a financial basis as well. This may be especially true when a divorcing couple goes through the property division process.

Statistics indicate that as many as 95 percent of all divorce cases are negotiated by divorcing couples outside of the courtroom. This is possible as part of Maryland’s no-fault divorce law. However, Maryland is among the states that also allow for divorce based on fault, such as a claim of adultery.

Regardless of which process is followed, if infidelity is claimed, the wronged spouse may have a case for exacting a financial toll on the offending spouse. This may be especially true if a prenuptial agreement exists and it takes the possibility of cheating into consideration.

Common advice is for spouses who are embittered by the cheating ways of their partners to do their best to not allow anger derail the negotiation process. That doesn’t mean that wronged spouses should allow themselves to be taken advantage of at the negotiating table. It does mean acting thoughtfully and with appropriate legal understanding and counsel.

On a cautionary note, spouses who have cheated or are considering cheating should look at the example of one New York woman who took control of all her husband’s real estate holdings after her husband cheated. The couple had a prenuptial agreement that established the transfer if she could prove he’d been unfaithful. Apparently, she did.

The main point to take away from this is that Maryland residents who believe that they can demonstrate that their partner has cheated on them may have a choice as to which divorce process to follow. In either case, negotiations over property division and other factors are likely to be involved.

Source: CNBC, “Does Cheating Cost You in a Divorce?,” Reuters, Dec. 18, 2012