Marital Misconduct


If my spouse is charged and arrested for commiting a fraud, is that considered marital misconduct, and will that get me out of having to pay alimony? Thank you.


Marital misconduct does not include the criminal behavior of one of the parties unless it causes the involuntary separation of the parties. The definition of marital misconduct under N.C.G.S. 50-16.1A follows.

(3) “Marital misconduct” means any of the following acts that occur during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation:

a. Illicit sexual behavior. For the purpose of this section, illicit sexual behavior means acts of sexual or deviate sexual intercourse, deviate sexual acts, or sexual acts defined in G.S. 14‑27.1(4), voluntarily engaged in by a spouse with someone other than the other spouse;

b. Involuntary separation of the spouses in consequence of a criminal act committed prior to the proceeding in which alimony is sought;

c. Abandonment of the other spouse;

d. Malicious turning out‑of‑doors of the other spouse;

e. Cruel or barbarous treatment endangering the life of the other spouse;

f. Indignities rendering the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome;

g. Reckless spending of the income of either party, or the destruction, waste, diversion, or concealment of assets;

h. Excessive use of alcohol or drugs so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome;

i. 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.


Thank you for your reply!
I was wondering though, what if my spouse is convicted of fraud… That still doesnt count as marital misconduct? The way I am understanding it is, if my spouse were to go to prison that would count as involuntary separation?


Correct. If he goes to prison, that will be considered marital misconduct and will be considered by the courts when determining whether to award alimony.


What if he doesnt go to prison? Would I have to pay alimony if he was charged and convicted of fraud but didnt go to prison? Thanks again!


Whether you have to pay alimony depends on a number of factors. For starters, the court must determine that you are the supporting spouse. If that occurs, then the court will review all the factors as listed in the statute and determine if alimony is reasonable. If alimony is reasonable, then the court will look at your ability to pay.

Since it is such a complex question, it is impossible for me to give a definite answer on the issue. You would be better suited by having a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.


Okay, thank you so much!


You’re welcome.