divorce in Tennessee

How Does Adultery Affect Divorce In Tennessee?

Committing adultery, unfortunately, is common and causes both mental and emotional distress for many people. If you or your partner were involved in an extramarital affair and are now getting a divorce, it would be wise to consult an experienced divorce lawyer to help best ensure the most beneficial outcome for you. 

Adultery can affect certain aspects of your divorce. The judge can consider it when it comes to division of property and alimony, depending on the circumstances.

How Is Adultery Defined In Tennessee?

While adultery is not considered a crime in Tennessee, it is grounds for divorce and can affect alimony or property division. Tennessee laws define adultery as voluntary sexual relations with anyone other than a spouse

Adultery is grounds for divorce in Tennessee (Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-4-101 (a)(3).) To file for divorce on the grounds of adultery, you will need to provide proof with admissible evidence to the court. The evidence you provide can rely on circumstantial evidence, which shows that the other party had both the opportunity and the inclination to commit adultery.

The Financial Impact Of Adultery On Divorce 

Having an affair while married can drive an irreparable wedge between you and your partner. When the marriage ends in divorce, the affair’s impact may influence the judge determining alimony.

Punitive alimony is not permitted in Tennessee even when one of the parties commits adultery. As stated in Tait v. Tait, 207.S.W.3d 270, the court wrote: 

…it is well settled that while the fault is a factor to be considered, it must not be applied in a punitive manner against a guilty party or determine the award of alimony. We have stated alimony is not and never has been intended by our legislature to be paucity…Nor do we believe it was intended simply as an award of virtue.

If it is determined that shared funds were utilized to fund trips, hotels, or gifts by one or both parties committed adultery; the court may award more of the marital property to the party who remained faithful. 

According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-4-106(d)

…the parties to a divorce or separation, from early on in the proceedings, are prohibited from transferring, assigning, borrowing against, concealing or in any way dissipating or disposing, without the consent of the other party or an order of the court, of any marital property…

If you can prove that your spouse cheated or received money from the person they had an affair with, the judge could eliminate or lessen the amount of alimony they would receive.

If you are the one who committed adultery, it would be in your best interest to hire an experienced divorce lawyer to help you prepare your testimony and navigate the process. Having an experienced divorce lawyer on your side is the best way to navigate the emotionally, mentally, and financially challenging time in your life.

The Impact Of Adultery On Child Custody And Child Support

The court will always consider what is in the child’s best interest, and while adultery is not considered a crime, the moral aspect is looked upon as having poor judgment. Depending on the circumstances, the court may rule that the parent is unfit to custody the child due to poor judgment.

When determining custody of the children, the court will always rule for what it believes is in the child’s best interest. Child custody is determined by weighing many factors, including relationship, parental involvement, ability to care for the children and be responsible for their needs. The judge may also consider allegations of adultery if there is proof. 

Choose A Tennessee Divorce Attorney You Can Trust

Divorces get messy. You need an experienced divorce attorney who is an expert in family law—someone who will help you set realistic goals—someone that you trust.

Whether you’re filing for divorce or have been served divorce papers, you may feel like your world has come crashing down around you. It’s a very vulnerable and confusing place to be in, which is why you need the best legal counsel possible to navigate all the ins and outs of divorce law.

Attorney Hunter Fowler has provided legal services to many individuals in your precise situation and will work with you through every detail of your divorce proceedings to ensure the final outcome is what you want for yourself and your family. Contact Hunter Fowler today to get the legal counsel you deserve.