Sexual Harassment and Marriage and Divorce
A lot of sexual harassment cases have come to light lately. Recently, the #MeToo movement has been really going loud and strong to the point that even ‘invincible’ public figures have been accused and even admitted to sexually harassing someone in the workplace. Because of this, even those sexual impropriety committed by men and women who are not famous have also come to light. This has a huge impact not just on the accused but accusations such as this also reaches its claws to grab the families of the accused, especially to those who are married. If this horrifying situation happens to you, you might not know how to deal with it. It will be overwhelming, after all. How should you handle the situation when your spouse has admitted to sexual harassment allegations?
Things to Remember When Your Spouse Has Admitted To Sexual Impropriety or Harassment
1. Remember that in the eyes of the law, you can share your spouse’s debt
The rules could vary in each state, but generally, a lawsuit that is caused by a sexual misconduct during the marriage is considered as a marital debt. It doesn’t matter if the lawsuit ahs not been filed or judged yet. Since the debt is considered ‘marital’, the court can divide that debt in any way it considers as fair. It could be divided 50/50 between you and your spouse if the court thinks that it’s the fair way to do it. The court will not divide your property solely due to marital misconduct however, if the court will consider the economic consequences of the harassment, there is a possibility that your assets will be divided. It’s also up to the court to decide if you will indeed share the debt and the lawsuit.
2. You can protect yourself from this ordeal
The only way you can protect yourself is by having a Marital Agreement, otherwise known as Post-Nup. It can be established during your marriage provided that the details of your finances are fully disclosed, you have been given proper advice regarding your rights and no one is forced to sign the agreement. You cannot file a post-nup when you are already contemplating a divorce, or if you have already filed for one. It will be too late for a marital agreement by then.
The marital agreement or post-nup can include a provision that allocates all liability from sexual harassment or misconduct to the offending spouse. So, in case sexual allegations against your spouse comes up and you believe that a divorce is a distant possibility (but still a legit possibility), getting a post-nup now is a good idea. If you wait some more, you might be at risk financially for your spouse’s behavior.
One thing to note though, is that the post-nup will not stop the victim from going after your joint assets. This is because a post-nup is a contract between you and your spouse but it does not actively protect your joint assets from victim claims.
3. Physical fights can lead to serious consequences
When you find out about your spouse’s infidelity, you will surely be mad and fuming. While your anger may be burning hot, you still need to remember that your actions can have far-reaching consequences. For one, the court will take into account instances of domestic violence when deciding whether you are fit to be a parent. This means that if you become violent with your spouse, it could lead you to losing custody of your children. Usually, the court takes domestic violence seriously, and would almost always cause the perpetrator of domestic violence when deciding custody and child visitation matters.
4. Watch what you tell your children
In your anger, it’s would be very difficult not to speak ill of your offending spouse. However, you still need to try to remain positive when talking to your children about your spouse. Yes, even if your instincts tell you to protect your children from your spouse’s disturbing behavior. In some cases, judges can take into account how you talk about your spouse to your children as a major consideration for custody. Most judges tend to consider a parent’s ability to share love, affection and communication between the child and the other parent. If you are a supportive co-parent, it is highly likely that the judge will award you with more time with your child.
Dealing with a spouse who has sexually harassed someone, especially during the time you were married can be a tough thing for you and your family. However, with the right mindset, enough support and helpful legal advice, you can get through it.