A person commits a single act of adultery and is discovered by their spouse but they decide to continue to work on their relationship and remain married. Then , 5 years later, after many total years of marriage(over 20), the spouse decides to divorce the one time unfaithful spouse, not necessarily for the infidelity but for general incompatibility as the marriage has been difficult for many many years. Is the person who committed adultery, a largely dependent spouse, able to sue for alimony or is that person forever denied alimony for that single incident…even though the marriage went on for 5 years after the incident?
There is no statute of limitations preventing the spouse from seeking alimony. The real issue is the fact that the spouse learned of the affair, and the parties continued to work on the marriage for five more years. A judge may find that the affair was condoned, or forgiven, so to speak, and if so the affair would not act as a complete bar to receiving alimony.
We discuss this in our article: Defenses to Marital Fault.