Can You Get Alimony if You Cheated?

No one enters into a marriage with a plan to get divorced. Most people never plan on dealing with adultery within their marriage, either. Unfortunately, adultery is a common reason why many marriages end. If it’s a factor in your divorce, you may have some questions about how it can impact the divorce process.

For many, they may want to know how it can affect one’s right to alimony. If you rely on spousal support after your divorce, you should know your rights in such a complex situation.

Ideally, both parties will wait until after a divorce is finalized before entering into new relationships. Still, if you are already in a new relationship before the divorce is finalized, it could have an impact on your right to alimony. 

Adultery as a Grounds For Divorce

In the state of Tennessee, there are two ways to obtain a divorce. The first is a no-fault divorce, which simply means the marriage is irreconcilable and cannot be salvaged. The other type of divorce is a fault divorce or one where one party is cited as providing a cause worthy of a divorce by the other.

Fault divorces are proven through evidence of a problem, such as adultery. If your spouse can prove that you committed adultery, or if they can prove you had the opportunity and inclination to cheat, then they may file for a divorce based on adultery.

Proving Adultery in a Divorce

You or your spouse may file for divorce on the grounds of adultery. If either spouse suspects that the other has been cheating or can prove that the opportunity and inclination to cheat was there, adultery can be used as the reason for divorce.

Adultery doesn’t have to occur physically, in this case. As long as the adultery was possible and likely, or if it was an emotional affair only, you could still be at risk of losing your right to alimony.

Does Adultery Prevent Receiving Alimony in Tennessee?

Committing adultery can affect whether or not you receive alimony in the state of Tennessee, but it isn’t the only factor. While it may have negative consequences, the judge presiding over your divorce will consider several factors when determining if alimony should be awarded.

If you cheated on your spouse, but they forgave you or even permitted it, it isn’t likely to prevent you from receiving alimony. This is especially true if the affair ended and the marriage continued for some time afterwards.

If the spouse who earns more (and who is likely to have to pay alimony) was the one who cheated, it doesn’t mean that the other spouse will be able to claim more alimony as a result. Ultimately, the judge will weigh the factors listed below to determine whether alimony will be awarded and how much that alimony will amount to.

Factors Judges Use to Decide Alimony 

Every case is different, because every couple has potentially different circumstances that must be considered, such as:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The earning potential of both spouses
  • The mental condition and age of each spouse
  • Financial resources available to each spouse
  • Childcare responsibilities 
  • Each spouse’s financial contributions to the marriage
  • Property division between the two spouses
  • Comparative fault of one spouse over another for the divorce
  • The physical health and well-being of each spouse
  • Any other important or relevant factors the judge deems relevant

Ultimately, the judge will decide whether or not alimony should be awarded, unless you and your spouse both come to an agreement before a judgment is entered.

No matter what the circumstances of your divorce are, you should consult an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you take proactive steps to secure your rights during the divorce proceedings, the more likely it will be that you’ll have a fair outcome once the divorce has been finalized.

Let Us Help You Navigate Your Divorce

Divorce is often a complex and emotional process. If there are additional circumstances, such as adultery at play, it can be even more stressful for both parties. Whichever side of the divorce you are on, your best course of action is to hire a reputable and knowledgeable divorce attorney.

Hunter Fowler is a dedicated and focused attorney specializing in criminal, divorce, and child custody law. He believes in taking a proactive approach to fighting for your legal rights, including your right to alimony. Contact Hunter Fowler Law today to find out how he can help you navigate your divorce.