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How Does Adultery Affect Divorce in Alabama?

Home » How Does Adultery Affect Divorce in Alabama?

Adultery and divorce add to the sorrow and pain you’re feeling. The dreams and aspirations of the marriage may be over, but you still have one thing left to do: go through the divorce proceedings.

If you have children, you may even need to maintain a relationship with your soon-to-be ex. We’re going to detail Alabama’s adultery laws and how they may impact your divorce.

What Are the Alabama Laws Surrounding Adultery and Divorce?

In Alabama, the laws regarding adultery and divorce are clear. If a spouse can provide evidence of an extramarital affair, it can impact the divorce in a few ways. It is important to note that Alabama law does not distinguish between pre-separation and post-separation adultery so even if you and your spouse have been separated for some time, adultery can still impact property division.

Is Adultery Grounds for Divorce in Alabama?

Yes, adultery is considered a fault-based ground for divorce in Alabama. A judge may grant a divorce if there is enough evidence to support the adultery claim.

However, a judge may not allow adultery to be used as a ground for divorce if:

  • The innocent spouse consented to the affair for the purpose of obtaining a divorce
  • Both spouses committed adultery
  • One spouse connived to have the other commit adultery
  • The innocent spouse condoned the adultery by continuing the marital relationship after learning of the affair

Proving adultery can be a challenge. An admission or confession is not enough to prove infidelity. There must be evidence that demonstrates more than a mere suspicion of an affair.

How Will Adultery Affect My Divorce in Alabama?

Adultery can affect a divorce in several ways in Alabama. For example, a judge can grant a divorce based on misconduct, which can include adultery. In this case, Alabama law permits the judge to consider misconduct when dividing marital property.

If the spouse committing adultery uses marital assets to fund the affair, such as providing financial support or purchasing expensive gifts, their share of the assets may be reduced. The other spouse may be awarded a greater share of the assets as a result.

Because proving adultery can be a challenge, it is crucial to work with an experienced Alabama divorce attorney who understands what it takes to substantiate this type of claim.

How Can an Attorney Help You Prove Adultery in Your Alabama Divorce Case?

For a divorce to be granted on grounds of adultery, there must be sufficient evidence, either direct or circumstantial.

Direct evidence can include photographs, texts, emails, or videos that explicitly confirm the affair. Witness testimony is another potential form of direct evidence, but it can also serve as circumstantial evidence.

In many cases, direct evidence can be challenging to obtain. However, circumstantial evidence can also be used to prove an adultery claim.

Circumstantial evidence can include receipts showing unusual spending habits, phone records or witness testimony from neighbors or others who may have seen the spouse out somewhere they claimed not to be.

Often, it’s not one single piece of circumstantial evidence that substantiates a claim of adultery, but rather, it’s multiple pieces of evidence that paint a clear picture of the affair.

An attorney experienced in claims of adultery and divorce can help you navigate the complexities of your case. 

Will Adultery Affect Alimony, Child Custody or Child Support?

Adultery is illegal in Alabama, but when it comes to child custody, it’s a complicated matter. The judge must do what’s in the “best interest” of the child. Often, children do best when both parents are a part of their lives.

Non-intact family structures have a significant socioeconomic impact on the child.

For example, studies have shown children in single-family households often experience:

  • Behavioral problems
  • Employment challenges
  • Poor life outcomes
  • Lower levels of education

Based on these studies, there’s a clear advantage to the child in keeping both parents a part of their lives. Judges know that frequent contact with both parents is ideal, but it’s also up to the judge to consider moral character and prudence.

An affair may result in the judge questioning the parent who engaged in adultery’s prudence, but this single factor is unlikely to change a custody agreement. For adultery to cause a change in child custody, proof of the affair and it being harmful to the child is required.

In terms of child support, Alabama takes into account:

  • Each parent’s income
  • Number of children
  • Childcare costs
  • Healthcare costs
  • Time spent with the child

If a parent has the child 30% of the time at the discretion of the judge, child support payments will likely be adjusted to reflect the financial burden on the parent who has the child 70% of the time.

Parents who have less time with their children still have rights in the parental decisions made for the child. For example, if the child needs a healthcare procedure performed, this parent will have an equal right in the decision-making process unless otherwise noted by the court.

What About Adultery and Alimony?

Alimony is not automatic in Alabama. The judge presiding over your case will take your circumstances into consideration and also ensure that awarding alimony is fair. Factors that will come into play are:

  • Will alimony cause an undue burden on your spouse?
  • Is alimony required for the spouse in question to maintain their lifestyle?

Adultery can sway the judge’s decision to award alimony because the breakdown of the marriage must be considered. If the spouse who committed adultery requests alimony, the judge may be less likely to grant them alimony because their actions led to divorce.

Hiring An Attorney Near You Who Understands the Law Surrounding Adultery in Divorce Cases in Alabama

Adultery and divorce are challenging to prove in most cases, but if proof is undeniable, it “may” help your case. We know that divorce is a trying time that feels like an emotional rollercoaster. No one enters marriage with the hope that it will end in a divorce. However, life plans change, people make mistakes and love may fade.

Our law firm has been helping clients in Cullman, Blount, Morgan, and Winston counties since 2004. We take a client-centric approach to every divorce, listening to your situation, considering your options, and walking you through this difficult time in your life.

You don’t have to go through your divorce alone.

Click here to schedule a consultation to discuss your divorce.