I Committed Marital Misconduct: What Happens to My Divorce?

Many divorcing spouses may be well aware that they committed marital misconduct during the marriage. Indeed, the union itself may have ended because of this misconduct. Those who have committed misconduct may feel guilt, shame, and anxiety. In addition, they may be concerned that they will suffer inevitable consequences when the divorce is finalized. These legal consequences might involve problems with child custody, spousal support, and much more. But is your situation really so bad? What will happen with your divorce if you have committed marital misconduct?

The first thing you need to realize is that many of these consequences can be mitigated with the help of a divorce attorney in North Carolina. Our legal professionals can guide you toward a favorable legal outcome. As we are about to explore in this article, collaborative divorce can provide many important solutions in this scenario. Get in touch with a family law attorney with collaborative law experience as soon as you can. With our help, you can finalize your divorce with confidence.

How North Carolina Punishes Spouses Who Have Committed Misconduct

If you have committed marital misconduct in North Carolina, the state may punish you in a number of different ways. First of all, it is worth pointing out that adultery is technically a misdemeanor in the Tar Heel State. In addition, spouses who are unfaithful during the marriage generally lose the ability to recover spousal support (also known as alimony). If you struggled with substance abuse during the marriage, you may not be granted joint custody of your children, which means that you will see them on a fairly infrequent basis. The same consequence may apply if you have committed domestic abuse during the marriage. 

Neither Spouse Can Control the Court Process

These rules are essentially set in stone, and no spouse can control the legal process if a divorce goes to trial. Even if one spouse is willing to forgive the other spouse to a certain extent, the court may not take this into account. They have set guidelines that they will follow regardless of how either spouse feels about the situation. This can lead to feelings of bitterness and regret for both spouses and not just the individual who committed the misconduct. 

How Does Collaborative Divorce Help?

A collaborative divorce can help address many of these issues. If both spouses agree, they can explore other ways to resolve the misconduct through negotiation and cooperation. For example, both spouses might agree that the guilty spouse should suffer some consequences, but not as many as they would if the divorce went to trial. For example, one spouse might have a substance abuse problem. Perhaps that is what broke up the marriage. 

If the divorce goes to trial, the spouse who committed this misconduct might have very restricted visitation rights when spending time with their children. The other spouse might recognize that this could actually be detrimental to the children. As a result, both spouses might agree that they will have joint custody over the children, as long as the parent with substance abuse gets treatment for their disorder. 

Other spouses might be more concerned about alimony. For example, one spouse might have committed adultery during the marriage, and they might lose their right to spousal support if the divorce goes to trial. In a collaborative divorce, spouses can work out these issues in different ways. For example, the spouse who committed adultery may still receive spousal support thanks to the separation agreement. However, the spouses may agree upon a different form of punishment, such as the guilty party losing ownership of the family home. 

Keep in mind that both spouses need to actually agree to pursue a collaborative divorce. In some cases, spouses may be intent on publicly shaming their ex with a trial. They may also want their ex to experience the heaviest consequences possible for their misconduct. In this case, they may refuse to consider a collaborative divorce. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney 

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous spouses in the Tar Heel State resolve their differences through collaborative divorce. Marital misconduct is never easy to deal with, especially if this misconduct leads to the end of the marriage. However, spouses are also capable of dealing with these issues like civilized adults. With a collaborative divorce, you can come to an arrangement that satisfies all parties. Book your consultation today, and we can help you explore your legal options.