Hand holding ring after extramarital affair

There are very few things more devastating than learning that your spouse has cheated on you. After the emotions have settled down and you are considering speaking to a Raleigh divorce attorney, you may begin to wonder – how will this impact me financially as well as with regard to my family?

There is no separate civil action for adultery, and while adultery is still a crime in North Carolina, it is rarely prosecuted. North Carolina does recognize the causes of action for alienation of affection and criminal conversation, which can be brought against the paramour.

The Impact of an Extramarital Affair

Below are examples showing the potential impact extramarital affairs can have on families going through a separation:

Equitable Distribution

Also known as division of assets and debts. Only if there is a financial connection to the extramarital affair does your spouse having an affair impact the division of marital assets and debts.

For example, did your spouse spend marital funds to pursue his or her paramour? Check bank records and credit card statements for purchases that you were not aware of (i.e. your spouse eats dinner without you and no one else you know of, yet spends $100.00.)

Alimony or Post-Separation Support

Post-separation support, or temporary spousal support, does not require that illicit sexual behavior (extramarital affairs) be considered as part of awarding post-separation support. However, alimony or permanent spousal support does. 

The spouse seeking alimony would still have to show that she or he is dependent on the other spouse and that the other spouse has the ability to pay alimony. If the supporting spouse had the extramarital affair, he or she “shall” pay alimony, so long as there is a need and ability to pay. If the spouse seeking alimony had the extramarital affair, he or she is barred from receiving alimony. If both parties engaged in an extramarital affair, it is as if neither one had an affair.

Child Support

There is no real impact on child support other than it could be relevant if you suspect your spouse’s paramour is part of any plan to hide or minimize your spouse’s income to reduce his or her exposure to child support.

As an example, do your spouse and the paramour work together, or are owners/partners in a company together? Do they have the ability to manipulate or defer your spouse’s income?

Child Custody

An extramarital affair would only be relevant to child custody if there is a direct connection to the children.

  • Is your spouse foregoing time with the children to pursue his or her paramour?
  • Are the children going with your spouse to spend time with the paramour?
  • Does the paramour have their own issues that cause concern with regard to their being around the children (i.e. do they have a criminal history that is violent or a registered sex offender)?

Speak to a Raleigh Divorce Attorney

Working with an experienced divorce attorney is the best option to help ensure your divorce goes smoothly if you need to consider an extramarital affair. Contact a member of our Raleigh divorce attorney team by calling 919-301-8843 or by completing the contact form below.

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Email Our Raleigh Divorce Attorneys or Call at (919) 301-8843!

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