Adultery in Tennessee: Does Cheating Affect Alimony?
In Tennessee, you can file for an irreconcilable differences divorce so long as you and your spouse both agree that you simply can’t work out your differences and you no longer want to be married. But you can also file for divorce on the grounds of fault, and one of the grounds for fault is adultery. That means that if you have adequate proof that your spouse has committed infidelity, you can argue that the conduct led to the dissolution of your marriage.
Because adultery is considered grounds for fault in a divorce, many people believe that means that they can get more alimony or a better divorce settlement if they find that their spouse cheated. Unfortunately, this is not true. The courts have ruled that alimony cannot be awarded on a punitive basis, meaning that alimony cannot be increased on the basis of wrongdoing. Instead, alimony is intended to relatively maintain the standard of living for the economically disadvantaged spouse, and is based primarily on how much you need and how much the spouse has the ability to pay.
I’m Judy A. Oxford, an experienced divorce attorney practicing in Murfreesboro and other middle Tennessee counties, and I help my clients understand how adultery can affect their divorce, including whether it can influence alimony or the division of assets. For example, if you made more money than your spouse, and he cheated, you would probably be granted the divorce, but you may not be granted alimony. However, if you were a stay-at-home parent, under certain circumstances, you would almost certainly be granted alimony after showing that your spouse brought about the end of the marriage because of infidelity. But you may also be granted alimony even without proving infidelity.
A suspicion of adultery, or even hearing from another person that their spouse committed adultery, is not enough for the courts to recognize that adultery has been committed. You actually have to prove that adultery took place to get a divorce granted on these grounds. I help my clients prove adultery through a variety of methods, such as showing texts, proving the spouse’s location at certain times, calling on witnesses, and more. If adultery is suspected, I work with my clients to determine the best way to try to get confirmation and then work to try to get the evidence.
When fighting for alimony, I consider all the information available to showcase what took place in the marriage, both economically and emotionally. My goal is to help you get the best settlement or court ruling for your divorce, including a division of assets favored toward you, an appropriate alimony payment, and appropriate child support, where applicable. If you think that your spouse is cheating, call my office today at (615) 791-8511 or use the secure online form to schedule a free consultation. I’ll help you understand the next steps to take, and we can start working to try to protect your future.