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How does a spouse's cheating affect a divorce case?

According to The Independent, cheating affects nearly one-third of couples in the United States. Going through a divorce is difficult, and the process can be even tougher when accusations of cheating are involved. The spouse you thought you trusted has betrayed you, and now there's no easy way out. 

For men and women worried about the divorce process due to an estranged spouse's indiscretion, there are certain legal considerations to be aware of through the proceedings. What makes a case involving cheating unique?

Considerations for an "at fault" divorce

An "at fault" divorce is when one spouse's behavior is found to be the primary reason for the end of the marriage. This process is different from the more common "no fault" divorces, in which a couple does not have to cite a specific reason for the split.

Cheating - known legally as "adultery" - is grounds for an at fault divorce in North Carolina. Child custody, spousal support and asset division could be affected if a spouse is found to be at fault. However, how you choose to proceed in cases of adultery requires careful consideration and advice from a family law attorney.

Two options after adultery

1. Absolute divorce

An absolute divorce ends all bonds of your marriage, but it does not address issues related to child custody, spousal support or asset division. Dealing with these matters requires additional legal action. Further, you must live separately for one year before the divorce is finalized.

This process follows the more "traditional" path of divorce, and you may not have to prove adultery to finalize the divorce as long as the other requirements are met.

2. Divorce from bed and board

Divorce from bed and board is possible due to adultery because it deals with cases of fault. Divorce from bed and board is more of a legal separation than the end of marriage, but it does address some financial issues that absolute divorce does not such as child custody payments and alimony.

If you who wish to separate via divorce from bed and board, you must be able to prove your partner's infidelity, but following through on this process can provide you with more options for divorce or reconciliation in the future.

The steps you take toward divorce after a partner's suspected cheating or affair may dictate the legal options available to you through the proceedings.

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