May 26, 2016

Monthly Misconception for May – “If you are unfaithful you won’t receive alimony.”

“If you are unfaithful, you won’t receive alimony.”  Untrue.    Here’s why.

Generally, our Connecticut divorce law is based upon concepts of equity and fairness rather than fault and blame.

More specifically, the law lists fourteen factors which a court must consider before entering an alimony order.  Neither fault nor blame are in the list.

“The causes for the … dissolution of the marriage…” is on the list.  This means that if one spouse’s affair actually caused the divorce, a court must consider this fact, along with the other thirteen factors, as it decides whether to award alimony and if so, the alimony amount and duration.

But still, an affair doesn’t necessarily mean no alimony.  First, more often than not the affair happened after the marriage was already broken down so that the judge can’t take it into account.  Second, the law doesn’t instruct a judge on how much weight to give to the cause of the divorce as compared to any of the other factors.  In most circumstances most judges weigh infidelity only slightly or not at all.

The divorce court isn’t designed to reward or punish spouses for their behavior-even infidelity. Understandably difficult sometimes for a person whose spouse has cheated on him or her to accept, but nonetheless this is the law in Connecticut.


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