Regardless of which side you find yourself on in a divorce case involving adultery, you probably have questions about how this will affect the months ahead of you. People rarely begin a divorce case with a thorough wealth of legal knowledge. However, hiring a lawyer to help you throughout the family law proceedings will allow you to gain a better understanding of the process. The primary aspects of a divorce case are:
- Custody arrangements
- Property division
Family law does not dictate that infidelity directly impacts custody or property division, but it can affect alimony. So in short, yes, infidelity will affect your family law divorce case. Breaking down just how infidelity will affect you directly can give you a clearer picture of what you have ahead of you.
Family Law view on Adultery in Greenville, South Carolina
In Greenville, South Carolina, infidelity or adultery is defined as having an extramarital affair. This includes any form of intercourse between one of the married persons and anyone else.
This makes the divorce “fault-based.” A fault-based divorce case is when one person is viewed as responsible for the dissolving of the marriage. While in most divorces, South Carolina law dictates that the couple must be separated for a year before going forward with the divorce process, a fault-based divorce case means that the standard one year of separation isn’t necessary and your divorce will proceed more quickly than usual. This means you can start putting your life back in order and not spend the next year dealing with a divorce.
However, in order for you to fast track the divorce process, you and your divorce attorney must prove the adultery took place and that it was not previously a consensual part of your marriage.
Burden of Proof in Adultery
Instead of needing physical evidence, circumstantial evidence is acceptable for these types of divorce cases. In the state of South Carolina, the burden of proof falls on the person making the allegation or claim and filing for divorce. This person must show that the alleged adulterer had the opportunity to commit adultery through inclination of habit or character.
Just showing that your spouse has a friend of the opposite sex is not enough to prove they were cheating during your relationship. You will need more substantial proof that your spouse is capable of cheating or had the inclination to cheat.
In recent years, using text messages and emails is commonly provided as proof of infidelity. These correspondences should show or allude to a romantic or physical relationship which would be inappropriate for anyone outside of the marriage. Additionally, an online dating service subscription or profile would similarly stand as substantial evidence of inclination.
To prove opportunity, your divorce attorney must show that there was sufficient time for your spouse to cheat. However, your lawyer will tell you that proving what took place behind closed doors is very difficult from the start. Many people find themselves hiring private investigators to track their spouse’s whereabouts, but that doesn’t mean a private investigator is the only way to prove opportunity. Testimony from friends, coworkers, or neighbors is often enough to showcase opportunity, as well as receipts or proof of transaction for hotel rooms.
Finally, finding an admission of guilt through correspondence such as a text message, email, or social media post is sufficient to prove both opportunity and inclination.
How Will Infidelity Affect My Divorce Case and Alimony?
Living in Greenville, South Carolina allows spouses to avoid paying alimony to their cheating partner. The cheating spouse cannot receive alimony under nearly any circumstance if they are determined to be guilty of infidelity. It is irrelevant how much you and your spouse make and how long they have been dependent on you. If you can show that they were unfaithful in the marriage, then spousal support payments are no longer a requirement.
According to state regulation section 20-3-130, a divorce judge overseeing family law in Greenville, South Carolina cannot force you to pay alimony to any spouse if they have committed adultery. State regulations govern all family law action in Greenville, South Carolina.
Reach Out to a Family Law Attorney in Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville Family Law helps individuals and families throughout Greenville, South Carolina with their family law needs. If you are dealing with a divorce, contact our offices or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation. One of our Greenville, South Carolina divorce attorneys will reach out to you shortly to discuss your situation and any concerns with your divorce case.