As of this writing, about 50 percent of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce. The rate of divorce for second and subsequent marriages is even higher. As New York City divorce attorneys, we can safely say that a large percentage of divorces are triggered by adultery.
For some clients, one of the spouses reconnected with on old flame on Facebook. Others had a “one-time fling” with someone they met at a bar or while travelling for business. Sometimes it’s a full-blown affair with a co-worker or even a close friend of the couple.
If you or your spouse had an emotional affair with someone via social media, an online dating site, or through texts and emails you may wonder, “Does it count as cheating?” Generally, for it to be cheating or adultery, there must have been voluntary sexual intercourse.
So, if it the whole relationship took place in the digital world, it wouldn’t exactly meet the definition of adultery, though the innocent spouse certainly feels like their husband or wife cheated on them (emotional infidelity).
How Adultery Affects Alimony in New York
If you’re the higher-earning spouse and your husband or wife cheated on you, you may be wondering, “Can my cheating spouse still receive spousal support or maintenance?” This is a very good question and it’s one that comes up a lot.
Marital misconduct, which includes infidelity, is not something the court is usually interested in learning about, and adultery won’t normally affect alimony or property division. While some states frown heavily upon adultery, New York courts aren’t as concerned about it.
There is an exception however, particularly when an adulterous spouse wasted the marital assets on their girlfriend or boyfriend. For example, if a cheating husband financially supported his girlfriend at the tune of $70,000 a year for a couple of years, that could definitely affect the wife’s alimony award.
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