If you suffer from mental illness or an addiction, are abusive, a workaholic, or want to destroy your spouse's relationship with your kids, you need to get help and change these destructive life patterns. All of it will come out at trial, and probably cost you custody of your children, especially if your spouse doesn't exhibit these behaviors. Be aware that if your spouse has these problems also and you fight over custody, you may lose your children to foster care.
Being promiscuous, particularly in the presence of your children will also hurt you. Of course, in some divorces one party has already established a serious relationship with someone else. However, in the absence of serious intent you are better off curtailing any recreational romantic liaisons. Cheating will cost you. If you feel your marriage is ending, be clear about it and make some decisions. Either get counseling and address your issues, or see an attorney about planning your divorce. If your spouse discovers your infidelity, it will be experienced as a betrayal and make your divorce brutal and bitter.
If your spouse suspects you've been unfaithful, his or her lawyer will likely hire a private investigator to collect evidence and prove it. There's either a paper or electronic trail to almost any interaction nowadays. Credit card transactions, cell phone bills, e-mail - all are traceable, and can be subpoenaed. In fact, there are firms that specialize in capture of electronic evidence.
The legal name for cheating within a marriage is adultery, which is a crime in New York State.
Never threaten or be violent. If your spouse feels that he or she is in danger, or can supply specific evidence to the Court, you can be removed from your home under a restraining order, commanding you to keep your distance. It's a crime if you violate it and you can be arrested.
If the nature of your relationship is such that you feel you might be provoked to violence, it may be best for you to find other living accommodations. This is something you should address immediately with your attorney.
If you believe your spouse is endangering you, whether through physical violence, verbal threats or abuse, stalking or any other type of harassment, take immediate legal action to protect yourself and your children. Speak to your attorney about having your partner removed, securing your premises and obtaining an order of protection.
In an emergency, you can go to Family Court without an attorney, and get a temporary order of protection requiring your spouse to stay away from you, your home and your children. However, to obtain one you must claim that you or your family is in immediate danger.
While it's preferable to maintain a cordial relationship with your ex-spouse after the divorce, if he or she has these kinds of problems it may be time to go your separate ways, or at least minimize future involvement.
In one case McAdams Law was involved in, the firm represented a woman whose husband suffered from bipolar disorder, a form of depression. They had a long marriage and an adult daughter. The firm assisted in equitably dividing the marital property, which included three houses in Queens. The wife got title to one of the houses wholly in her name, and sold another house to get her half the value. In all other respects, they went their separate ways.