What Should You Do if You Find Out Your Spouse is Cheating in North Carolina?

Infidelity in marriage can be one of the most difficult things to handle from a purely psychological viewpoint. However, it can also lead to a range of financial and legal complexities. Those who have made this discovery should strive to act in a calm, professional manner to ensure the best possible outcomes. Although your actions may be sparked by strong emotions, taking a moment to consider the possibilities could be extremely useful. Consider speaking with a qualified family law attorney in North Carolina to determine the most appropriate course of action.

Consider Divorce

After discovering your spouse’s infidelity, consider a divorce. While it may be possible to salvage your marriage, one must be realistic. According to various studies, people who cheat in relationships are more likely to cheat again. One study from the University of Denver found that after someone cheats on a partner for the first time, they are three times more likely to cheat again. The same study found that someone who has been cheated on once is up to four times more likely to experience the same misconduct again in the future. While statistics often fail to paint an accurate picture, the truth is that there is a high likelihood that a cheating spouse will commit the same misconduct repeatedly.

Remember that in North Carolina, almost all spouses are required to go through a mandatory one-year separation period before moving forward with divorce. This means that even if you are not sure about whether you want to end the marriage, you can still separate and “cool off” before actually divorcing. During this one-year period, you can take time to reassess your priorities, discuss the situation with your spouse, and think carefully about your future.

Think Twice Before Forgiveness

A divorce is an even more logical choice when you consider the consequences of forgiveness. Those who become aware of cheating and forgive their spouses may lose access to notable financial benefits.

North Carolina ensures certain consequences for spouses who engage in extramarital affairs. Technically speaking, adultery is a crime in the Tar Heel State – although financial penalties are far more common compared to criminal charges. These financial penalties benefit the aggrieved spouse in many cases. For example, a spouse who cheats may lose access to alimony (also known as spousal support). On the other hand, a spouse who cheats may need to pay more alimony than usual in certain cases. North Carolina also allows “heart balm torts.” Aggrieved spouses may file these lawsuits against people who cheated with their exes.

When you forgive your spouse for their cheating, you lose access to these financial benefits in many cases. In some cases, “forgiveness” can be defined as sleeping with your spouse after the cheating has occurred. This may be an impulsive decision, and it may not even reflect your willingness to forgive the ex. However, the courts will assume that such “resumption of marital duties” signifies your forgiveness of the behavior. This is why it is so important to speak with an experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina after cheating has occurred.

Gather Evidence

As with virtually all accusations in the United States, defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty. This means that if you believe your spouse has cheated on you, it is your responsibility to prove that this behavior occurred. If you cannot prove that this behavior occurred, you will not experience any of the favorable treatment that North Carolina courts usually provide to victims of adultery. It is not your spouse’s responsibility to prove their innocence.

Fortunately, you can work with a qualified divorce attorney in North Carolina to gather evidence from a range of different sources. Often, social media posts, messages, emails, and other digital evidence provide more than enough convincing material. To learn more about how to gather evidence, speak with a lawyer today.

Where Can I Find an Experienced Divorce Attorney in North Carolina?

Although attempting to salvage a marriage is certainly respectable, sometimes relationships are beyond saving. If you would like to discuss the possibilities of a divorce, consider booking a consultation with Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous North Carolina divorcing spouses including those who have dealt with serious cases of marital misconduct. While it may be difficult to see the silver lining in this situation, you may experience certain legal advantages after being victimized by an unfaithful spouse. Reach out today to make the most out of these advantages and get started with an effective action plan.