Can Infidelity Affect Your Alimony Arrangement?
In New York, spouses may seek a no-fault or fault divorce. In no-fault divorce, the filing spouse only needs to demonstrate an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months. The stakes are a bit higher in a divorce filed with fault-based grounds, as the filling souse must prove the presence of physical or mental abuse, abandonment (at least one year), incarceration (at least three consecutive years) or adultery.
Under New York law, adultery is defined as a married person having sexual intercourse with a person to whom they are not married. Cases filed based on adultery are often particularly contentious, meaning they can become more complicated and more drawn out.
But can the presence of adultery affect particular elements of your divorce, such as alimony?
How marital fault affects divorce
In general, courts in New York will not consider marital fault in issues such as alimony when awarding alimony and in the process of dividing and distributing marital property. In addition, one spouse committing adultery does not automatically result in the other spouse being awarded alimony. Adultery alone is not considered an “egregious” enough act for it to factor into the awards given to a spouse.
However, if there are aggravating factors in the adultery, such as the cheating spouse wasting away a significant portion of the couple’s assets or savings on a lover, this could become a factor in alimony and property division. A good attorney will understand how best to argue on your behalf in such a situation to maximize your award.
To learn more about protecting your best interests during a divorce, meet with a knowledgeable Long Island family law attorney at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.