Adultery Laws and Alimony

By Heather Frances J.D.

Your spouse’s adulterous relationship may bring an end to your marriage, but it is not always a significant factor in the legal process of divorce. Though many states recognize adultery as grounds for divorce, state laws vary, and when it comes to alimony, your spouse’s adultery may or may not be significant to the divorce court.

Grounds

When you file for divorce, you must allege at least one reason – or ground – for the divorce. All states recognize some form of no-fault ground, sometimes called “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” or “irreconcilable differences.” Many states also recognize adultery or other grounds for divorce, but the definition of adultery varies among the states that recognize it.

Proof

The spouse who files for the divorce has the burden to prove to the court that grounds for divorce exist. If you allege adultery as the ground for the divorce, you must be able to prove the adultery occurred, and your testimony alone likely will not be enough. You may provide witnesses who saw your spouse in a romantic situation with the other person, or you could hire a private detective to investigate your spouse. Photographs or other documentary evidence may also be helpful. If you cannot provide sufficient evidence to prove the adultery, the court cannot grant your divorce based on that ground; you may be able to use your state’s no-fault grounds instead.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Alimony

State laws also vary on the way adultery affects alimony. In some states, the adulterous spouse may be completely barred from receiving alimony if the adultery was the cause of the divorce, but some states do not have such laws. In those states, the spouse who committed adultery might be awarded alimony, depending on the circumstances. Also in some states, the adulterous spouse may end up paying more alimony than he otherwise would have, so long as the faithful spouse is otherwise entitled to alimony.

Property Division

Proven adultery may affect the court’s division of marital property during the divorce. The faithful spouse may receive more of the couple’s assets or less of their debt if she can prove her spouse committed adultery and that his adultery caused the divorce. Adultery’s impact on property division during divorce varies by state and among judges.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Divorce in New York City Based on Adultery

References

Related articles

Wyoming Laws on Alimony

Alimony, or spousal support, is money paid by a party to a former spouse. Wyoming, like all states, has a specific set of laws governing alimony awards. Wyoming, also like all states, allows individuals to obtain a divorce without proving the other party was at fault. Alimony is not intended to punish a paying spouse, but rather to provide fair and necessary assistance to the spouse who needs it. Alimony statutes are gender neutral; both men and women can receive it.

Can a Wife's Financial Misconduct Be Considered in a Divorce?

Your divorce court will issue a divorce decree that details the terms of your divorce, including how property is to be divided between you and your spouse. Depending on your state’s laws, the court may be able to consider your spouse’s misuse of money, among other factors, when it divides your marital property.

How Does Georgia Define Verbal Abuse in a Divorce Case?

Georgia law allows couples to divorce due to verbal abuse, but only if the abuse rises to the level of "cruel treatment" under the state's divorce law. Proving fault may lead to a more favorable divorce settlement, and Georgia law provides some protection to victims of domestic violence while the divorce is pending. However, even when circumstances do not meet the definition, you can still divorce under no-fault grounds, such as your marriage is irretrievably broken.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Does Adultery Justify Divorce?

Not only does infidelity lead to discord in a marriage, it often causes spouses to call it quits. If your spouse ...

Does a Spouse Stealing Money Qualify for a Divorce?

It may be time for a divorce if you catch your spouse stealing money, but a court cannot grant your divorce unless you ...

Adultery Divorce Laws

In 2010, New York became the last state in the country to adopt no-fault divorce. No matter where you live, you no ...

Florida Divorce Laws on Infidelity

No-fault divorce states, such as Florida, grant divorces on the premise that sometimes marriages just don’t work out. ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED