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Does adultery affect spousal support in a North Carolina divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2023 | Divorce |

In the modern world, people are more tolerant of behaviors that were once extremely taboo. Adultery, for example, is often forgiven or understood by the general public in particularly troubled or intolerable marriages.

Unfortunately, family courts in North Carolina do not share this broad-minded attitude to cheating on one’s spouse. Whether you are the alleged cheater or the victim of adultery, you can expect marital infidelity to impact alimony decisions in your divorce.

What does North Carolina law say?

State law defines adultery as illicit sexual behavior with an outside party during the marriage or before separation. If a spouse voluntarily engages in such activities, it may lead to an unexpected outcome.

Financially dependent spouses

If you depend on your spouse financially, alimony could help you survive until you can do so without support. Unfortunately, you are unlikely to receive spousal support if your spouse shows you engaged in adultery.

Financially supporting spouses

When the primary earner in a marriage cheats on the other spouse, the court usually orders them to pay alimony. The judge could also order you to pay more than you would have had you not committed adultery.

What if both spouses cheated?

In these situations, courts examine all relevant circumstances before deciding whether to order or deny alimony. The court will ignore any illicit sexual behavior condoned or excused by the other spouse.

If you fear you won’t qualify for alimony or will be forced to pay because of supposed misconduct, guidance from a legal practitioner is wise. Together, you can take steps to shine the most favorable light on your side of a divorce dispute.