Can You Still Get Alimony if You Cheated on Your Spouse?
Every state is a little different when it comes to alimony or spousal support. In many states, it doesn’t matter if either party committed adultery during the marriage. The purpose of alimony is not to punish one party or the other. The point of alimony is to make sure that both parties can still live a relatively comfortable lifestyle after the divorce.
In most of the cases that our Charlotte divorce lawyers handle, one spouse earns significantly more than the other. Since this is one of the biggest factors considered when the judge determines alimony, most of the cases we handle involve alimony award of some sort. Sometimes our client is the one ordered to pay alimony while there are other times when our client is the recipient of a healthy amount of spousal support.
Does Infidelity Influence the Alimony Amount You Have to Pay?
The big question here is whether you’re entitled to more alimony because your spouse cheated on you. Or, conversely, whether you’ll be ordered to pay more alimony because you had an affair at some point during the marriage.
It is important to remember that one of the only ways to argue that you’re entitled to enhanced alimony payments is if you cite adultery as the grounds for your divorce. Your Charlotte divorce lawyer will make sure this is done properly so that there’s no risk of you losing out on the spousal support you deserve.
Who is Entitled to Alimony in Charlotte, North Carolina
Not everybody who gets divorced in North Carolina is entitled to alimony. As with any other type of family matter, the facts will determine the outcome of the case. Typically, the only person awarded alimony is the spouse who earns less than the other.
For example, imagine that you are a schoolteacher earning $40,000 per year. Even when you’ve reached your highest step, you may not earn more than $70,000 per year. And, knowing how the public education system works in North Carolina, it could be another decade or more before you reach that highest step.
At the same time, your spouse earns well over $200,000 per year as an attorney. In addition, your spouse teaches law law school classes earning additional $40,000 for that work. This means a judge will be looking at a case where one spouse is earning $40,000 and the other spouses earning $240,000. As one can imagine, alimony is almost a given in such a case. But that doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee. There are other factors surrounding the divorce that could invalidate one spouse’s right to alimony or spousal support.
How Does a Judge Determine Alimony in Most Divorce Cases?
In Charlotte, North Carolina, the family law judge has a lot of discretion when it comes to granting alimony. Some states have a formula for determining how much a certain person will receive in spousal support. There is no such a formula in Charlotte. Your judge will consider the facts of the case, listen to the arguments by both Charlotte divorce lawyers, and make their decision.
They will have to decide whether alimony will have to be paid in the first place. They will also determine how much and how often it will be paid. Finally, they have the last say on whether they choose to enhance one party’s alimony payments based on infidelity or adultery.
What are the Factors that Impact the Amount and Duration of Alimony?
Generally speaking, there are many factors that impact whether or not either spouse will receive alimony. These same factors will determine how much that alimony will be and for how many years it will be paid. Some of the factors that can impact spousal support include the following:
- the length of the marriage
- the income and earning potential of both spouses
- the education level of each party
- whether one parent will be able to work full time if they are taking care of the family’s children
- if the primary caretaker has been out of the workforce for a significant period of time
- whether either party has cheated on the other one during the course of the marriage.
How Can Adultery Impact Your Alimony Award
You notice that the last thing we mentioned above was the way adultery can impact an alimony award in your divorce case. North Carolina is one of the very few states that allow this to happen. For example, if the judge was normally going to order your spouse to pay you $1000 per month in alimony, that number may increase to $1400 because he cheated during the course of the marriage.
Just be mindful that things can work the other way as well. If you were going to receive alimony in the amount of $1000, but the other party can show that you were unfaithful during the course of the marriage, your alimony could be reduced significantly or be taken off the table altogether. Of course, your divorce lawyer will fight to make sure you get every penny you deserve.
Reach Out to a Skilled Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Today
If you’ve been considering filing for divorce for quite some time, it’s a good idea to contact our office and speak with one of our Charlotte divorce lawyers. Most people who think about divorce as often as our clients do shouldn’t put off filing for divorce any longer than absolutely necessary.
You can sit down with one of our Charlotte divorce lawyers and ask any questions you may have. One of those questions will probably be about alimony. If you are the higher earner in the relationship, you probably fear that you’ll have to pay a good deal in alimony. While we would love to tell you that this isn’t the case, you are correct. If, however, your spouse was the main breadwinner, you may be entitled to a significant amount in alimony. It all comes down to the facts of your case.