How does marital misconduct affect alimony?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2021 | Alimony

Marriages require sacrifices. Usually, one spouse gives up their employment opportunities to take care of the household, while the other gives up time they could spend with their children to receive an income. The spouse who stayed at home has no way of supporting themselves after a divorce, which is why the courts in North Carolina award these spouses with alimony. However, a spouse can be barred from receiving alimony if they committed marital misconduct.

Alimony in North Carolina

The court will order one spouse to pay the other alimony when the latter cannot meet their financial needs without the other spouse’s income or assets. The spouse receiving alimony is the dependent spouse, and the one who pays it is the supportive spouse. It’s the dependent spouse’s right to ask for alimony if they need it, as the court must respect the sacrifices they made during the marriage. However, dependent spouses may lose their chance to receive alimony if they committed any act that classifies as marital misconduct under the law.

Acts that constitute marital misconduct

Courts in North Carolina consider many factors when determining the amount and duration of payment of alimony. One of these factors is marital misconduct during a marriage, which influences the court’s decision significantly. The following acts count as marital misconduct:

  • Cheating
  • Involuntary separation in consequence of a criminal act
  • Abandonment
  • Cruel treatment endangering the life of the other spouse
  • Reckless spending of the income of the other spouse
  • The destruction, waste or concealment of assets
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs

All of these acts can affect alimony, primarily when cheating occurred. If the dependent spouse cheated on the other, they may lose the right to receive alimony. On the other hand, the court may force a supportive spouse to pay alimony if they were the ones who cheated.

The right to be heard

The court may deny or award alimony depending on the overall circumstances of the marriage. A spouse has the right to fight for the alimony they deserve by presenting their arguments in court. They have made their sacrifices, and they have the right to get compensation for their efforts.

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