In North Carolina, adultery is a ground (legal reason) for filing for divorce, and naturally, this will have an effect on the case, often making an already difficult process that much more painful. But does it have any other influence on the legal process itself? It can, yes, but perhaps not as much as expected. It may not directly affect child custody, property division, or child support, but it will directly influence a judge's decision when it comes to awarding alimony.
Adultery and Alimony
Now if a cheating spouse is forgiven by the other spouse, then that infidelity will have no bearing on their case. Otherwise, if a spouse cheated on the other before they were separated, then this marital misconduct will be a huge factor when it comes to alimony. If, for example, a dependent spouse had an affair before the separation, then they cannot be awarded any alimony, regardless of how much they may need the financial support. If the supporting spouse cheated, then they will be ordered to pay alimony to the other spouse. What happens if both spouses are found guilty of adultery? In this case, a judge would have to view other factors that relate to alimony, such as each spouse's income, earning capacity, and debt, as well as how long the marriage lasted and how much each spouse contributed to marital property, and more.
Property Division and Infidelity
While it is unlikely that an affair will enter into a court's calculations when it comes to determining child custody, adultery is more likely to have an effect on the equitable distribution of marital property. For example, if an unfaithful spouse took his or her lover on a vacation and gave them gifts, if these gifts were financed with money from a married couple's joint account, then this could directly affect the outcome of property division.
If you have further questions about the divorce process, then do not hesitate to call Hopper Law Office, PLLC today. An experienced Raleigh divorce attorney can help you understand how the North Carolina's laws will weigh in on your case, and if you work with our legal team, you can be confident that you are getting the skilled representation that you deserve. Contact our firm today to learn more!