When Does a Court Care if I Cheated?

When Does a Court Care if I Cheated?

The 1996 movie “The First Wives Club” follows Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton in their portrayals of three scorned housewives who helped their husbands achieve financial success only to be traded in for younger models. But does cheating spouse really face the consequences in divorce court? In North Carolina, the answer is “possibly yes,” thanks to our state’s statute on “alimony awards”, and is not something you should take lightly.

“Alimony” is a term for financial support one former spouse is ordered to pay the other for a certain period of time after divorce. The spouse paying alimony is called the “supporting spouse,” and the spouse receiving alimony is called the “dependent spouse”. Typically, if one spouse earns income during the marriage and the other spouse does not, a court will consider the income-earning spouse as the “supporting spouse” and the other as the “dependent spouse”.

In deciding whether to award alimony in a divorce, courts will consider all “relevant factors,” and in North Carolina, even a single incident of cheating (or, “marital misconduct” as it’s legally termed) can make or break your alimony award. If a court finds the supporting spouse had an extramarital sexual affair before the couple separated it must award alimony to the dependent spouse. But, if a court finds the dependent spouse had an extramarital sexual affair before the couple separated, the dependent spouse is denied alimony.

Whatever side of the equation you find yourself on, the family law attorneys at Apple Payne Law in Kernersville are prepared to assist you in navigating your divorce and protecting your interests. If you aren’t sure what your next steps should be and just want to understand the process better, an Apple Payne Law family attorney is ready answer your questions – give us a call today to set up your consultation.

Author Bio

Ronald D. Payne II
Ronald D. Payne II is the CEO and Managing Attorney of Apple Payne Law, a North Carolina law firm he founded in 2018. With more than 11 years of experience practicing law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including business law, estate planning, family law, probate, and traffic law.

Ronald received his Juris Doctor from the Wake Forest University School of Law and is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being awarded the 2020 Client’s Choice Award by Avvo and multiple Rising Star awards from Super Lawyers.

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