Does adultery matter in a North Carolina divorce?

Social mores have changed considerably over the decades. Adultery is no longer seen as a major taboo by many people — but does it matter in your divorce?

In North Carolina, it might. While you can’t use adultery as grounds for your divorce, your spouse’s affair is considered “marital misconduct.” As such, it can both affect your spousal support and lead to civil actions.

How can adultery affect spousal support?

If either spouse committed adultery, the court must consider it when deciding spousal support. There are exceptions if the spouse who strayed was forgiven after the act or had their spouse’s consent for the extramarital affair.

If you’re the financially dependent spouse and your spouse committed adultery, the court will award alimony. If your spouse is dependent on you and they strayed, the court may deny them alimony. However, that’s not guaranteed.

How can adultery lead to civil actions?

Essentially, you can sue your spouse’s extramarital partner for “alienation of affection” as long as their relationship started prior to the point where you and your spouse had physically separated. This kind of suit is very uncommon, and North Carolina is one of the few states that permits it — but it is a possibility.

Don’t assume that you understand how the divorce process works or what rights you have without digging deeper into your legal options. You don’t want to make a costly mistake simply because you don’t know your right

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