Can your cheating spouse still ask for spousal maintenance?
McWhorter Law Firm Attorneys

Can your cheating spouse still ask for spousal maintenance?

| Jan 14, 2021 | Family Law |

Infidelity or adultery is among the top reasons for spouses to decide to divorce. Although some people go through therapy and try to make the relationship work, many families impacted by unfaithfulness will eventually head to divorce court.

If you have spent much of your marriage being the wage earner who supported the family, your spouse’s infidelity can feel doubly insulting. You may feel taken advantage of and used in addition to feeling betrayed and angry.

If your spouse has stayed home and doesn’t have a career right now, they may not have the ability to support themselves when you file for divorce. Could you still wind up paying spousal maintenance to your ex even though they cheated on you? 

The Arizona courts don’t consider marital misconduct

There are multiple factors that the Arizona family courts can consider when deciding what amount of spousal maintenance to award. The length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, the work history of each spouse and how much of their economic disadvantage stems from supporting the household all influence how much spousal maintenance one spouse pays. These factors also contribute to how long it might last.

Those with long marriages, children with special needs or spouses with severe health conditions could wind up paying permanent support. Others may have to pay maintenance for years until their spouse can finally go back to work.

Unfortunately, marital misconduct like adultery typically has no bearing on alimony proceedings. The courts do not typically review marital misconduct when making decisions about financial situations for a divorcing couple.

Marital agreements create a potential exception to this rule

Although typically a wage-earning spouse may have the obligation to temporarily support a dependent spouse during and after a divorce, spouses can agree prior to marriage that such support won’t play a role in their divorce when they sign a prenuptial agreement.

In fact, if your marriage hit a rocky spot, possibly because your spouse has cheated in the past, you may have executed a postnuptial agreement instead of a prenup. Either of these agreements might include a provision that waives spousal support obligations or precludes requests for it if there is any future adultery.

Fighting back when an unfaithful spouse asks for financial support can require a lot of planning before you go to court. The right help will make it easier for you to build a case and will ensure that someone who is calm and not angry about the situation is the one explaining your side of things to the court.