How Does Adultery Impact My Divorce?


If you or your spouse committed adultery during your marriage, and you are now in the process of getting a divorce, you might be wondering what impact that affair may have on your divorce.

In North Carolina, adultery is considered one form of marital misconduct. In short, marital misconduct includes illicit sexual behavior, also known as infidelity, which does have an impact on aspects of a divorce, specifically spousal support.

North Carolina is considered a “no-fault” state with regards to divorce. This means either spouse may file for divorce after a one-year separation period. The one-year separation period is mandatory before an absolute divorce can be granted. In instances such as these, adultery has no impact on whether an absolute divorce is granted.

However, adultery can have an immediate impact on a spouse when dealing with the effects that result from getting a divorce, such as spousal support and property settlement.

Adultery may have an effect on division of assets to the extent that the adulterous relationship is economic in nature, meaning if the spouse committing the adultery used a significant amount of marital assets to engage in the adulterous behavior, such as using funds from a joint bank account.

Likewise, adultery will likely have an effect on an award of alimony, whether you are the dependent spouse or the supporting spouse. If the dependent spouse, which is the spouse who seeking alimony commits adultery during the marriage, that spouse is barred from receiving alimony, however may not be barred from seeking postseparation support, which is temporary support.

If you need legal advice or representation in a divorce regarding alimony, post-separation support, or division of property, please contact one of our lawyers at Jetton & Meredith. Our family law attorneys are equipped with knowledge and experience to help you maneuver through these difficult times.