The Financial Consequences of Infidelity

The Financial Consequences of Infidelity

It is known that adultery can cause significant emotional harm to a marriage. Whether one spouse discovers an affair or the cheating spouse admits infidelity in hopes of coming clean and starting anew, the situation can lead to substantial emotional harms. There may be trust issues for the rest of the marriage, the non-cheating spouse may look for revenge or may self-destruct, the children may find out about the affair and turn against the cheating parent – these are just some of the outcomes that occur as a result of adultery. There are also serious financial consequences that may result due to the infidelity.

South Carolina’s Consequences for Adultery

There are several ways in which infidelity may impact the financial circumstances of the marriage. First and foremost, in South Carolina, a bill is in the process of being discussed that would add clarifying language regarding the absolute bar to alimony due to adultery.

According to current South Carolina law, alimony is not available to the cheating spouse if the adultery occurs before the earliest of these two situations:

  • The official signing of the divorce settlement agreement reflecting the division of property
  • The court’s affirmation of a permanent order of maintenance and support or the permanent order affirmed by the court regarding the property and divorce settlement agreement

The bill would add additional language stating that alimony may still be awarded if adultery occurred after a temporary order is affirmed in court regarding the divorce between the two parties or separate maintenance.

Purpose Behind the Amendment to the Alimony Bar

This addition provides more clarity to when exactly couples that are newly separated may begin to consider dating others before the divorce officially takes place. Though it is still risky to date before a divorce is finalized, the new bill reflects the evolving understanding that divorce can take time and put one’s life on hold while the potentially acrimonious proceedings are taking place can be difficult on the parties. Many times a divorce has been impending for years, and the signing of the divorce decree is just the formalization of something that has been broken for years on end. Potentially the couple was waiting for their child to become an adult or financial hardships played a role in postponing the divorce. Either way, the new amendment helps to further clarify when an absolute bar to alimony would take place so that couples considering entering into the dating realm before the finalization of their divorce are able to make better decisions.

Infidelity Clauses: Other Consequences

Outside of the South Carolina laws governing alimony, many couples incorporate infidelity clauses into their prenuptial or postnuptial agreements so as to better tailor their agreements to the marriage. Infidelity clauses are included so as to codify the exact punishment that may occur as a result of adultery during the marriage. For example, an infidelity clause may dictate that the cheating spouse may have to move out of the family home, pay a fine to the non-cheating spouse, or to pass over ownership of certain assets such as stocks, cars, pets, or summer homes.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

Infidelity and adultery can take its toll on a marriage. Some couples opt for divorce while others decide to stay together and patch their relationship up. An experienced family law attorney at Klok Law Firm LLC can help decide whether you will be in a better position staying with your cheating spouse or divorcing him/her. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for a free and confidential consultation.