What is Marital Misconduct?

I previously touched on marital misconduct in my post-separation support and alimony blog here.  The only type of marital misconduct I mentioned though was adultery.  There are, in fact, eight more types of marital misconduct which I go into greater detail below.

The Types of Marital Misconduct

North Carolina General Statute Section 50-16.1A lists all nine types of marital misconduct and they are:

the aforementioned 1. adultery; 2. involuntary separation of the spouses in consequence of a criminal act committed prior to the proceeding in which alimony is sought (basically, being locked up for a criminal act prior to an alimony action being brought); 3. abandonment of the other spouse (leaving your spouse without any justification, consent of your spouse, and not intending to resume cohabitation); 4. malicious turning out-of-doors of the other spouse (kicking a spouse out of the home with no justification); 5. cruel or barbarous treatment endangering the life of the other spouse; 6. indignities rendering the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome; 7. reckless spending of the income of either party, or the destruction, waste, diversion, or concealment of assets; 8. excessive use of alcohol or drugs so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome; and 9. willful failure to provide necessary subsistence according to one's means and condition so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome.

Why is Marital Misconduct Important to Post-Separation Support and Alimony?

If evidence that one of the above types of marital misconduct was committed by a spouse then a Judge can rule that the party committing the misconduct is not entitled to post-separation support or alimony.  As explained in my PSS and alimony blog post, a party is entitled to PSS and/or alimony upon a showing that they are a dependent spouse.  That can go out the window, however, if marital misconduct is proven by the supporting spouse.

Now, there is a caveat regarding adultery in post-separation support in that any evidence of adultery cannot be brought by a faithful spouse unless the cheating spouse brings up evidence of marital fault first.  Basically, if you have committed adultery, do not point the finger at your spouse and say the separation is their fault.  By doing that, you are opening up the door for your spouse to bring forth any evidence they may have that you committed adultery.  Evidence of adultery in alimony cases can be brought up first by the non-cheating spouse even if the cheating spouse does not try to blame them for the marriage falling apart.