How Does Marital Misconduct Affect Divorce?
The decision to file for divorce is never easy. Sometimes, a marriage does not go as planned, and you and your spouse are no longer able to make your marriage work. You are not alone because according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the divorce rate is about 2.5 out of every 1,000 total population. There were more than 689,000 divorces in 2021. In North Carolina, you can obtain a no-fault divorce. This means that you do not need to prove grounds for divorce other than that your marriage is irretrievably broken. But what happens when one spouse has committed some form of marital misconduct?
What is Marital Misconduct?
Marital misconduct is the mistreatment of one spouse by another during the marriage. Misconduct covers a range of misdeeds that include acts or behaviors that could harm the other party. Some of the most common types of misconduct include infidelity, abandonment, alcohol abuse, drug dependency, asset concealment, and reckless spending. Marital misconduct may be any act or behavior that is a detriment to the marriage or the other spouse. Sometimes, marital misconduct could impact a divorce.
Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: ” I’m considering separating from my spouse; what actions should I refrain from doing?”
Can Marital Misconduct Affect My Divorce?
Marital misconduct does not affect an absolute no-fault divorce except when it comes to alimony. Alimony is the money that is paid from one spouse to the other following a divorce. Alimony, also called maintenance or support, may be paid to a spouse in order to provide them with the lifestyle they were accustomed to during the marriage. If a spouse who committed marital misconduct was entitled to receive alimony, the judge may reduce it or may deny it. If a partner who is supposed to pay alimony committed misconduct during the marriage, he or she may have to pay more than they otherwise would have paid.
Marital Misconduct – Grounds for Divorce From Bed and Board
Divorce from bed and board in North Carolina is different from absolute divorce. Divorce from bed and board is similar to legal separation in that it provides a division of property and settlement terms, but it does not end the marriage. A spouse may seek divorce from bed and board for reasons such as adultery, desertion, cruel or barbarous treatment, or drug abuse. In these cases. It is important to know that divorce from bed and board does not end the marriage, and parties are not free to remarry, although they live apart.
If you or your spouse participated in misconduct during the marriage, you should discuss the matter with your attorney. Your lawyer will review the details and help you determine how to proceed. Marital misconduct may not pertain to your immediate absolute divorce, but it could impact the decision of alimony. Your attorney will answer your questions and assist you in every way throughout the divorce process. To learn more about absolute divorce and divorce from bed and board, contact our legal team at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 for a consultation.
The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.
alimony | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)
FastStats – Marriage and Divorce (cdc.gov)
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