Alimony payments are payments made by one spouse to the other dependent spouse after the two are legally divorced. Alimony payments occur when one spouse is financially dependent on the other spouse during the duration of the marriage and the court determines, after considering all relevant factors, that it would be fair and just for the supporting spouse to pay for the support and care of the dependent spouse. One factor that courts use to determine whether the supporting spouse should pay the dependent spouse alimony is whether the supporting spouse committed adultery during the duration of the marriage.
Once the spouses are legally considered separated, North Carolina law would not consider extra-marital relationships as a factor to show the need for alimony payments.
Can Married Men Who Are Legally Separated Date Without Committing Adultery? | LegalZoom Legal Info
The court may look at post-date of separation relationships as evidence that either spouse committed adultery prior to the marriage. The post-separation relationship with a third-party does not directly affect alimony amounts, but it could lead the court to believe that there was an extra-marital affair that took place prior to the separation, which would affect the alimony amount. Through criminal conversation, the spouse of the adulterer has the option to sue the extra-marital lover for monetary damages.
A criminal conversation claim may only be brought against a third-party individual to the marriage and cannot be brought against a business entity. Can dating a spouse who is legally separated lead to a lawsuit for criminal conversation? The North Carolina Court of Appeals held in that a claim for criminal conversation against a third-party paramour is not barred by the fact that the spouses are legally separated.
The court stated in Johnson v. Pearce, criminal conversation is based on the fact that the parties are married at the time and is based on the policy that spouses have the legal right to exclusive sexual intercourse with each other even if they are legally separated. What defenses are available for a third-party paramour for criminal conversation? The only defenses that are available for a paramour for engaging in sexual intercourse with a separated spouse in a criminal conversation lawsuit is that the spouses were either legally divorced or the innocent spouse provided consent to the extra-marital sexual intercourse.
Like criminal conversation, alienation of affection is a civil lawsuit that an innocent spouse can bring against a third-party not just a paramour. However, unlike criminal conversation, alienation of affection does not require the innocent spouse to show that actual sexual intercourse took place between the adulterous spouse and a third-party during the marriage. The purpose of an alienation of affection claim is to allow an innocent spouse to sue a third-party for leading to the end of a marriage.
Could dating a spouse who is legally separated lead to a lawsuit for alienation of affection? A claim for alienation of affection is not necessarily barred by the legal separation of a married couple.
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Legal Implications for a Spouse Who Chooses to Date After Separation
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