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Marital Misconduct In North Carolina, Explained

One recurring theme in post-separation support and alimony is marital misconduct. Marital misconduct can affect the amount of spousal support and alimony that a spouse pays or receives.

At Scott Law Group, our team of attorneys and staff can help you better understand the details of marital misconduct and how they apply to your case. We have years of experience producing evidence of marital misconduct or challenging claims of marital misconduct. Our firm routinely works with people facing a wide variety of divorce and other family law issues in Kernersville, Winston-Salem and throughout the state.

What Qualifies As Marital Misconduct?

In North Carolina, marital misconduct means any of the following acts committed by either spouse during the marriage:

  • Illicit sexual behavior
  • Involuntary separation in consequence of a crime
  • Abandonment
  • Malicious turning-out-of-doors
  • Cruel or barbarous treatment
  • Reckless spending of income of either party
  • The destruction, diversion or concealment of assets
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs

If the judge finds that the dependent spouse is guilty of marital misconduct, then the court will almost always award financial support. Conversely, if the court finds that the supporting spouse committed misconduct, then it may not award any financial support at all.

How Do Courts Define Illicit Sexual Behavior?

Illicit sexual behavior means acts of sexual or deviate sexual intercourse engaged in by a spouse with someone other than their spouse. The court treats this act differently than the other factors in marital misconduct. Illicit sexual behavior is much more serious than the other factors. If the court determines the presence of illicit sexual behavior in a marriage, then:

  • The court will deny support or alimony to a guilty dependent spouse
  • The court will order support or alimony from a guilty supporting spouse
  • If both parties engaged in illicit sexual behavior, the court will consider all the circumstances and has the discretion to award or deny support or alimony

Talk To Us In A Confidential Consultation

Reach out to us at Scott Law Group, by calling at 336-310-8569 or toll-free at 800-566-2907 or by completing our email contact form. We provide a confidential consultation to clients in the Winston-Salem area and statewide North Carolina.