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Can you divorce your spouse for cheating in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2021 | Divorce

Divorce and Heartbreak

Few things disrupt a marriage the way that infidelity can. An extramarital affair destroys trust between partners and can make one spouse feel like they don’t even know the person they share their life with anymore.

If you found out that your spouse has cheated on you, you may want to end your marriage. Is it possible to divorce based on grounds of adultery in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Courts only recognize two grounds for divorce

Every state has its own rules about what qualifies a couple for divorce. Some states offer no-fault divorces where there needs to be no reason given whatsoever. Common Grounds for Divorce include abandonment, adultery and criminal behavior or abuse. North Carolina does require grounds, but there are only two specific scenarios in which a couple can qualify for a divorce.

One of the reasons you can file for divorce in North Carolina is incurable insanity that results in spouses living apart for at least three years. If your spouse will never recover from a mental health issue, you can petition the courts to end your marriage.

Barring that, the only way to file for divorce in North Carolina is after a period of separation that lasts for at least 12 months. Provided that you have lived separately for a year or more, you can file for divorce in North Carolina without any other reason.

Will the courts penalize your ex for adultery?

A spouse’s misconduct, including adultery, will likely have little impact on a litigated divorce. The courts usually don’t consider behavior when splitting up property, and infidelity will be unlikely to affect how they split custody if the couple shares children.

Unless your spouse wasted significant marital assets on their affair, you likely can’t hold them accountable for their infidelity in court. There could be an opportunity to take action against the other person involved in the affair, but that would be something that occurs separately from the divorce.

You may have to explore whether, given the rules and place in North Carolina, seeking justice through the courts is the best option. You may want to instead focus on building a better life for yourself by formally separating and getting ready to file for divorce once you can in 12 months.

Your children, finances, and future are worth fighting for.

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