What is Marital Misconduct and How Does it Affect My Divorce?

  1. Family Law
  2. What is Marital Misconduct and How Does it Affect My Divorce?
Woman holding wedding ring

Marital misconduct refers to mistreatment of one spouse by the other during the marriage. A variety of acts can qualify as marital misconduct. These include but are by no means limited to: cheating, abandonment, reckless spending, concealment of assets, and drug or alcohol abuse.

If one spouse has committed marital misconduct, this will typically put him/her at a disadvantage in divorce proceedings. If you are going through or contemplating a divorce, you should be aware of the consequences of marital misconduct. Marital misconduct becomes relevant in discussions of post-separation support and alimony. Alimony is financial support that one former spouse may be ordered to pay the other. Marital misconduct is an important factor of several in determining alimony.

In determining how marital misconduct would affect your situation, it is important to determine which spouse is the supporting spouse. The supporting spouse is typically the spouse who earns more money. The dependent spouse is typically the spouse who earns less money. If there is evidence that the dependent spouse committed misconduct during the marriage, he/she will likely be denied alimony. If there is evidence that the supporting spouse committed misconduct during the marriage, he/she may be ordered to pay alimony.

These scenarios are most clear-cut when the marital misconduct in question is infidelity. When your spouse has committed a different type of marital misconduct, the effect on alimony may vary. Judges typically give the greatest consideration to the most shocking or harmful instances of marital misconduct when determining alimony. An attorney can help clarify how much weight a judge is likely to give marital misconduct in your situation.

It is important to note a couple of additional points about marital misconduct and alimony. The first involves alimony. Cohabitation with a romantic partner other than your spouse, while you are still married, makes you ineligible for alimony. Second, it is in your best interest to communicate with your spouse through your attorney following a separation. This serves to prevent statements you make from being taken as admissions to any form of marital misconduct. If you have any additional questions about marital misconduct or alimony, our attorneys here at King Law are happy to assist you. Call 888-748-5464 (KING) today for a consultation.

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