A cheating spouse is one of the most common reasons for a divorce anywhere. Infidelity is a body blow to most marriages, and may signal the beginning of the end of a marriage. But cheating by itself has little effect on the terms of a divorce unless it is in a fault-based divorce state where the petitioning spouse has to have grounds to file for divorce. Arizona, for one, is a no-fault divorce state so there is no need to have grounds except in covenant marriages, a special type of marriage with limited divorce options which comprise less than 1% of Arizona marriages.
Cheating in Arizona is not considered by the court when determining any type of spousal maintenance (alimony), for instance. In fact, a divorce lawyer will cite family law that actually prohibits judges to hear arguments related to marital misconduct in determining the appropriateness or amount of temporary or permanent spousal maintenance.
However, there may be an exception if the couple entered into a premarital (prenuptial) agreement which includes an infidelity clause, where the spouses agree that cheating can affect spousal maintenance or community property division. In some cases, the clause may be phrased so that if the spouse with more financial power commits adultery he or she will pay more than what is stipulated in the agreement for maintenance or property division, and if the spouse with less financial means cheats he or she will receive less. This type of clause is generally enforceable in Arizona unless the terms violate public policy or are otherwise illegal. Have a lawyer draft your premarital agreement just to be on the safe side.
According to the website of Arenson Law Group, PC, in the absence of an infidelity clause, a cheating spouse is just a good reason to get out of a marriage but not to get something more in a divorce. One interesting thing about adultery in Arizona is that it is actually a Class 3 misdemeanor, good for a month in jail or a sizable fine under the Arizona Revised Statute 13-1408. Filing a complain with the police therefore can bring around serious consequences.