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What is Marital Misconduct and How Does it Impact My North Carolina Divorce

At Daly Mills Family Law, our divorce attorneys in Lake Norman field a lot of questions about marital misconduct, and how it impacts North Carolina divorce proceedings.

The short answer is, North Carolina is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means marital misconduct is not relevant during the proceedings. North Carolina allows spouses to get divorced for any reason, so long as they have been separated for one year or more.

However, marital misconduct may become a factor during claims of post-separation support and alimony.  Here is what North Carolina residents need to know.

What is Considered Marital Misconduct in North Carolina?

North Carolina Law defines marital misconduct as any of the following acts that occur during a marriage and before the date of separation:

  • Cruel or barbarous treatment endangering the life of the other spouse.
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable or burdensome.
  • Illicit sexual behavior between one spouse and someone other than the other spouse.
  • Indignities render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome.
  • Involuntary separation of the spouses because of a criminal act.
  • Malicious turning of doors.
  • Reckless spending of the income of either party, or destruction, waste, diversion, or concealment of assets.
  • Willful failure to provide necessary subsistence according to one’s means as to render the conditions of the other spouse intolerable or burdensome.

Marital misconduct may only affect post-separation support and alimony and is not relevant for claims of equitable distribution or child support. Marital misconduct typically does not impact child custody either, unless the Court finds that the misconduct affects the well-being of the children.

How Does Marital Misconduct Affect Post-Separation Support and Alimony in North Carolina?

When dealing with post-separation support and alimony, we must establish which spouse is the dependent, and which is the supporting spouse.

These designations are not based on gender, they are based solely on finances, and become important when determining what impact marital misconduct will have on post-separation support or alimony.

Here is why:

  • If the dependent spouse commits marital misconduct, he or she is barred from receiving post-separation support or alimony.
  • If the supporting spouse commits marital misconduct, the dependent spouse may be more likely to receive post-separation support and/or alimony.

If both spouses commit marital misconduct, their actions cancel each other out. That means consideration for post-separation support and alimony will be based solely on other relevant factors.

Contact Our Lake Norman Family Law Attorneys Today for a Consultation

At Daly Mills Family Law, our Lake Norman attorneys focus on each of our client’s unique legal needs, and that begins by keeping our caseloads small. Each time you contact our office, you will have access to attorneys and support staff who can answer your questions, allay your fears, and develop practical legal solutions that make sense.

It’s a jungle out there. Protect what’s yours. Contact our Mooresville family law attorneys today at (704) 901-8855 or online to develop a partnership that produces actual results.

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