Relationship Deal Breaker: Adultery

Written by Jonathan Breeden

March 3, 2021

Adultery can cause terrible pain in a marriage and is often considered the ultimate relationship deal-breaker. In our more than 20 years of handling North Carolina divorce cases in Johnston, Harnett, and Wake Counties, we know how devastating infidelity can be. However, you should be aware of some important legal aspects of adultery before moving forward to protect yourself and your family.

If you suspect or flat-out know your spouse has committed adultery, be sure to contact the Breeden Law Office. North Carolina divorce attorney Jonathan Breeden will explain your options and what comes next.

Call us at (919) 661-4970 or reach out online.

How Does North Carolina Law Define Adultery?

Finding out that your spouse or partner has been unfaithful is shocking, and you may be confused. Many are prepared to seek a divorce right away when it comes to cheating. On the other hand, you may be willing to consider reconciliation.

North Carolina law has a specific definition of adultery that you should be aware of before making life-altering decisions.

North Carolina law only defines adultery as sexual intercourse with someone who is not your spouse. This often does not align with our clients’ thoughts or marital experiences. Legally speaking, adultery does not include:

  • Sending of Explicit Messages – Often called sexting, this includes sending someone else graphic images or text of a sexual nature.
  • Dating Someone Else – Your spouse is not legally committing adultery if they join someone else on a romantic date. Adultery would only occur if these meetings resulted in sexual contact.
  • Making Plans To Begin a Relationship – Some spouses promise other romantic partners that they’ll get a divorce. While devastating, your spouse has not committed adultery by simply expressing their desire to date or marry someone else.

This Definition of Adultery Can Impact Your Divorce

An unfaithful spouse may be the end of your marriage. However, the legal definition of adultery can play a crucial role in the outcome of your divorce.

A divorce caused by adultery can have an impact on your financial well-being going forward. Alimony requirements can be modified if this was the case. Alimony is court-ordered financial support required after a divorce. Your spouse may be required to pay you alimony. On the other hand, you may have to pay alimony. If your divorce is legally caused by adultery, alimony may be impacted in the following ways:

  • Alimony May Be Voided – There may be no requirement to pay alimony if the unfaithful spouse would have received payments. Note that child support may not be impacted if alimony payments are canceled.
  • Alimony Can Be Upheld – This happens if the unfaithful spouse is later required to pay alimony. Their adultery is just another reason for them to compensate the spouse whom they hurt.

The Breeden Law Office Can Help

We understand that an unfaithful spouse can cause terrible pain, and the laws surrounding adultery can get confusing. They may even seem outdated, but do not delay in contacting a knowledgeable lawyer.

We understand that your marriage may be over if your spouse was involved with someone else. But it’s critical to protect your rights and exit the marriage properly by working with an experienced North Carolina divorce attorney.

For more than two decades, Jonathan Breeden has been helping people in situations like yours to get to the next chapter in their lives. One that does not include an unfaithful spouse. Contact the Breeden Law Office today at (919) 661-4970 or reach out online.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden