Adultery remains one of the leading causes of divorce. Some marriages can withstand infidelity. But if you discovered evidence of your spouse cheating – or if they admitted it to you – you may find yours cannot recover. If you two decide to divorce, your spouse’s actions could affect their settlement.
What adultery impacts
Adultery is one of five reasons you can file fault-based divorce in South Carolina. Doing so expedites the process, since you can begin the process after 90 days of separation. Otherwise, you and your spouse would have had to live apart for one year if you pursued a no-fault filing. State law also decrees that any act of marital misconduct will affect alimony. This provision may bar them from support altogether. And it will likely apply in your circumstances so long as you can prove one of two criteria:
- Your spouse’s adultery affected your economic circumstances
- Your spouse’s adultery caused your marriage to break up
If your spouse commits adultery during your separation, this may also bar them from alimony. Keep in mind, though, that if you condoned their actions – whether during your marriage or separation – you may have to provide support. And if you and your spouse were both unfaithful, you would likely have to pay as well.
What adultery does not impact
If you and your spouse have children together, their adultery will not affect child support payments. This is because your children’s needs are independent from your spouse’s adverse actions. Their actions will not impact their share of custody or visitation either. Nor will your spouse’s adultery prevent them from receiving their fair share of marital property. The exception to this rule is if they spent a significant amount of your money while conducting their affair. In this case, the court may award them less property to reimburse you for their misconduct.
Your spouse’s adultery may have hurt you. Yet, filing for divorce can give you a fresh start and help you move forward from their actions.