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What constitutes marital misconduct in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2022 | Blog, Divorce |

North Carolina marriages end for many different reasons. Sometimes, two people simply fall out of love or find that the relationship between them has evolved into something more of a friendship. Yet, in other cases, marriages end because one or both parties in the marriage engage in unethical behavior.

Per the North Carolina Legislature, if one party in a marriage engages in behavior that falls under the umbrella of “marital misconduct,” it may impact certain aspects of the divorce.

How marital misconduct impacts a divorce

Contrary to popular belief, one party in a marriage committing marital misconduct does not mean the other party is going to walk away with the kids, the home and the money in the split. Instead, the only thing marital misconduct might impact is spousal support. For example, if the breadwinner in a marriage has his or her spouse cheat, the supporting party typically does not have to pay the other party alimony. If the supporting spouse is the cheater, he or she should plan on having to pay the other party alimony after a split.

What actions constitute marital misconduct

Infidelity is not the only thing that may lead to allegations of marital misconduct. If one spouse abandons the other or subjects his or her partner to cruel or barbarous treatment, this may count as marital misconduct. If one spouse excessively spends money or uses drugs or alcohol to the point where it has a serious impact on the other, this may also count as marital misconduct, among other possible examples.

In the event that both spouses cheat or otherwise engage in marital misconduct, it may be up to the court whether to make an alimony award in a divorce.