Jon and Kate No More: Would an Affair Affect Divorce?

By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on June 22, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

So, the sad and arguably, inevitable, conclusion many anticipated to the Jon and Kate Gosselin marriage may have arrived. People reports that divorce papers for the two stars of the popular TLC show Jon & Kate Plus Eight were filed in Pennsylvania this afternoon. Speculation on the rocky state of the Gosselin marriage had been rampant, and it was long-rumored that a split was coming. This was particularly so after rumors surfaced of an alleged affair by Jon. Although such affair was never confirmed, admitted, etc., many people might be wondering if an affair would affect anything in the divorce proceedings?

Although some states now go with a "no fault" system for divorce, Pennsylvania allows both "no fault" and "fault" divorces. In a "no fault" divorce, a spouse asking for a divorce isn't trying to say or prove that the other person did something wrong to cause the divorce. In Pennsylvania, one or both parties can claim that a marriage is "irretrievably broken" due to no fault of either party, but interestingly, a court will still look into the matter further if the other party disputes the issue. 23 Pa.C.S.A. section 3301.

At any rate, as far as "fault" divorces in Pennsylvania go, a court can give an "innocent and injured spouse" a divorce if the other spouse did any of the following: 1) committed willful and malicious desertion (i.e. bailed) without cause; 2) committed adultery; 3) committed "cruel and barbarous" treatment endangering the other spouse; 4) committed bigamy; 5) got sentenced to prison for a crime; and 6) offered such indignities to the innocent and injured spouse as to render that spouse's condition intolerable and life burdensome. So, adultery is a ground for a "fault" divorce in the state, but does that actually affect anything?

On the question of how property distribution goes, Pennsylvania law appears to indicate that marital misconduct may not be considered by courts in determining the issue. 23 Pa.C.S.A. section 3502(a). On the other hand, such misconduct (if it occurs before the date the couple's final separation) can affect a court's consideration, and determination, of alimony. At this time it isn't clear whether any fault or blame is being placed at anybody, and hopefully, whatever issues they might face, the Gosselins will be able to get themselves and their family through this tough time.

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