When it comes to divorce and family law, North Carolina is a no-fault state. That is, the state law in North Carolina does not, in general, hold a party to be at fault for a divorce. However, in cases involving adultery, infidelity can have a major impact on other claims like alimony, child custody, and property division. Infidelity in North Carolina can be considered grounds for divorce from bed and board, as well. If you are being accused of infidelity or suspect (or have evidence of) a spouse's infidelity, contact a family law attorney in Wilmington, North Carolina before proceeding with your divorce case.
Infidelity and Alimony in Wilmington, North Carolina Divorce Cases
According to North Carolina Statutes, the party seeking alimony payments needs to establish that they are the dependent spouse, and the other is the supporting spouse. From here, it is the duty of the court to award an alimony amount which it deems to be equitable. However, even if a court does reach these findings, infidelity on the part of a dependent spouse will prevent that spouse from being able to receive alimony payments. In the event that the court finds that a dependent spouse has engaged in illicit sexual acts, including sex or sexual contact with someone other than their spouse during the marriage, the court will not award that spouse alimony.
- On the other hand, should the court find that the supporting spouse has engaged in illicit sexual acts, just as they are defined above, then the court will order alimony payable to the dependent spouse? Often, this amount is higher and the duration is longer than it would have been without the infidelity. As you can see, infidelity has a very large impact on alimony amounts in Wilmington, North Carolina family law divorce cases.
- After the date of separation, either spouse is generally considered free to seek relationships with people other than their spouse. However, if infidelity is an issue in your Wilmington NC divorce case, the court may use this relationship after the separation as evidence supporting a claim of infidelity during the marriage itself. For this reason, it is advisable to take care and follow the advice of your family law attorney in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Infidelity and Child Custody in Wilmington, North Carolina Family Law
It is generally well known that child custody in Wilmington, NC family law and divorce cases is determined by the child's best interests. Even though infidelity in and of itself may not directly harm the child, it may be able to strengthen the other spouse's argument regarding that parent's lack of responsibility, lack of stability, and overall fitness as a parent. It is rare that a judge finds that an affair negatively impacts a child's best interests, but it does happen and it is certainly within the judge's discretion to do so.
Infidelity and Property Division in Wilmington, North Carolina Divorce Case
In nearly every divorce case in Wilmington, NC, infidelity has no bearing on the division of marital property in a family law case. The one exception to this rule may be if the affair had an effect on the other spouse's finances during the marriage. If, for instance, thousands of dollars worth of marital assets were spent on hotel stays, gifts, vacations, and other expenses related to the infidelity, this may be considered in the division of property.
Divorce from Bed and Board in Wilmington, North Carolina Family Law
Though the name may suggest otherwise, divorce from bed and board does not imply an actual divorce of a married couple. Divorce from bed and board refers to separation which is court-ordered. This action is fault-based, and not always required in Wilmington, North Carolina divorce cases.
If one spouse can show that they have been injured by the other according to one of the grounds laid out in the North Carolina General Statutes, this can result in a court ordering divorce from bed and board. One of these grounds is infidelity. This is an important consideration because this court-ordered separation can be used to establish spousal rights including who remains in the marital home, child custody, post-separation support, and alimony payments.
Reach Out to a North Carolina Divorce Attorney to Discuss Your Case
If you are involved in a divorce case in Wilmington, North Carolina in which infidelity is a factor, contact one of the experienced Wilmington family law attorneys at Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division to ensure that you have the best chances of receiving a positive outcome in your case.
Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division
300 N. 3rd St. Suite 310
Wilmington, NC 28401