North Carolina does not support spouses that commit any type of marital misconduct – and the financial repercussions can be harsh.  If evidence shows that one of the types of marital misconduct was committed by a spouse, it is used as a factor in determining whether alimony should be granted, how much alimony should be granted, and the duration the alimony is to be paid.

Our statute defines marital misconduct as any of the following acts that occur during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation:

  • Illicit sexual behavior. For the purpose of this section, illicit sexual behavior means acts of sexual or deviate sexual intercourse, deviate sexual acts, or sexual acts defined in G.S. 14-27.20(4), voluntarily engaged in by a spouse with someone other than the other spouse;
  • Involuntary separation of the spouses in consequence of a criminal act committed prior to the proceeding in which alimony is sought;
  • Abandonment of the other spouse;
  • Malicious turning out-of-doors of the other spouse;
  • Cruel or barbarous treatment endangering the life of the other spouse;
  • Indignities rendering the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome;
  • Reckless spending of the income of either party, or the destruction, waste, diversion, or concealment of assets;
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome; or
  • Willful failure to provide necessary subsistence according to one’s means and condition so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome.

A dependent spouse is the spouse who would be receiving alimony because they are substantially dependent on the other spouse for support.   A supporting spouse is the spouse who would pay alimony.

If a dependent spouse commits acts illicit sexual behavior prior to the date of separation and the supporting spouse did not, the dependent spouse cannot recover alimony.

If a supporting spouse committed illicit sexual behavior behavior prior to the date of separation and the dependent spouse did not, the supporting spouse will be required to pay alimony.

If both spouses are shown to have committed illicit sexual behavior, the court has discretion to determine whether an award of alimony is appropriate and the acts could “cancel” each other out.  Click here for more information on illicit sexual behavior.

For general information on marital misconduct, read our resource here!

To get a better view about your specific set of facts, contact Miller Law Group for a consultation today!