Does a Cheating Spouse Mean I Win the Divorce?

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Apr 06, 2022 | 0 Comments

Divorce cases can already be contentious. When a spouse has also cheated on you, the case can become even more controversial. But under North Carolina law, most spouses with children must be separated for at least one year and one day before the court will finalize a divorce. There is no legal exception for adultery. Unfortunately, you can't just file for divorce, claim adultery, and have the court grant your divorce immediately. However, your partner's adultery can affect the outcome of spousal support, property division, and child custody decisions.

Child Custody and Adultery

In North Carolina, the courts will use the child's “best interests” standard to determine custody. Adultery typically won't affect your child custody case unless your spouse subjected your children to inappropriate situations during their affair. If your spouse is a fit parent, adultery shouldn't affect your custody case. Moreover, adultery won't affect child support payment determinations. The family court will use its legal guidelines to calculate the amount of support.

Spousal Support and Adultery

When deciding whether awarding spousal support or alimony to one spouse is appropriate, the court will consider, among other things:

  • The earning capacity of each spouse,
  • The couple's standard of living,
  • The length of the marriage,
  • The emotional health of the spouses,
  • Whether one spouse contributed to the other's education, increased earning power, or other training, and
  • Marital misconduct.

As a result, adultery may be a consideration in allocating spousal support.

Property Division and Adultery

Likewise, adultery may affect the division of your marital assets. While the court normally divides assets equitably, the court may consider adultery if your spouse used significant marital assets or a joint bank account to support their lover or the affair. For example, if your spouse was paying for an apartment rental with your joint assets, the court may decide that an equitable division of your assets gives you more in the divorce.

You Need Skilled Legal Guidance

If you're going through a divorce in North Carolina and your partner was unfaithful, we can help. Call us at 919-719-2785 or contact us online. Our experienced family law attorneys offer the skilled legal guidance you need during this process. We can help you find the best solution for your family.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.


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