Does Polyamory Lead To Divorce?

Most couples in the United States are monogamous. Monogamy means having one spouse. It is the traditional form of marriage. Some states have laws that make cheating on a spouse illegal. California is not one of those states.

You can have sex with someone other than your spouse without fear of going to jail in California. However, you cannot have more than one spouse at a time.

Polygamy vs. Bigamy vs. Polyamory in California

All three terms are similar, but they have very different meanings. Polygamy is the practice of having multiple spouses. It is used to refer to sister wives. The husband may be legally married to one wife and spiritually married to the other wives. Polygamy is illegal in California, as in all other states.

Bigamy refers to marrying another spouse or entering a registered domestic partnership while your current spouse still lives. Bigamy is also illegal in California. There is one exception. You can remarry or enter a domestic partnership if your previous spouse or domestic partner has been absent for five or more years and you don’t know if they are still alive.

Polyamory relationships are different. It refers to consensual non-monogamy (CNM) or an open marriage. The spouses agree that they can engage in sexual and/or romantic relationships outside of their marriage. The adultery is not hidden but encouraged. California does not have a law that makes adultery or polyamory illegal.

Problems often arise when a spouse decides they do not want an open marriage, but their spouse is happy with the polyamorous relationship. A spouse is left with the decision of remaining in a marriage where their spouse has one or more affairs or ends the marriage.

Is Polyamory Grounds for a Divorce in California?

No, polyamory is not legal grounds for divorce in California. However, spouses may decide they no longer want to live this lifestyle and file for divorce.

California only has two grounds for divorce. Incurable insanity or permanent legal incapacity is one of the grounds for divorce in California. You must prove that your spouse has a permanent condition that renders them incapable of managing their own affairs, such as a mental disability or illness.

Irreconcilable differences is the other grounds for divorce in California. Either spouse may file based on irreconcilable differences. The court can grant the divorce over the objection of the other spouse. The spouses may agree on divorce terms or litigate to resolve disputed issues.

Does Fault for the Marriage Impact Other Issues in My Divorce?

In states with fault grounds, the grounds for divorce may impact one or more issues related to the divorce. For example, some states bar alimony if a spouse commits adultery.

Because California is a no-fault divorce state, the fault for the breakup of the marriage rarely impacts issues in the divorce. However, there are exceptions.

For example, suppose that domestic violence is the reason for the divorce. A judge may consider domestic violence when deciding child custody terms. The judge may grant sole custody to the non-violent spouse. The judge could also deny or restrict visitation, depending on the facts of the case.

Adultery can also impact spousal support in some situations. The unfaithful spouse does not pay more money merely because they cheated on their spouse. However, if an unfaithful spouse spent a large amount of the marital assets for an extramarital relationship, the judge could consider the conduct when determining alimony.

Likewise, infidelity does not necessarily impact child custody decisions. What matters is the best interests of the child. However, suppose that a parent’s extramarital affair puts the child’s well-being at risk. The judge may consider this factor when deciding custody terms.

Do You Have Questions About Divorce Cases in California?

Even though California is a no-fault divorce state, divorce cases are not always easy. Many issues arise in divorce cases that result in lengthy and costly litigation. With the help of a San Diego divorce lawyer with divorce mediation experience, you may be able to resolve the issues without a prolonged court battle.If you have questions about the California divorce process or need help with a divorce case, contact a San Diego divorce attorney for a confidential consultation. Seeking legal advice from a seasoned divorce lawyer in San Diego protects your rights and best interests.

Contact Our Divorce Law Firm in San Diego, CA

Contact our experienced San Diego divorce lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC today for legal assistance. Contact our San Diego office at (619) 866-3756 to schedule a free consultation.

San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
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San Diego, CA 92108