A Cheating Spouse (No Fault Divorce) Means Nobody Cares
Written by: Stefano Ceroni
Ever since New York State adopted no fault divorce in 2010, nobody in this country has to prove marital fault to end a marriage. Yes, gone are the days where couples who could no longer stand each other were forced to manufacture an act of infidelity just to convince the court to grant a divorce. Most people have reacted favorably to this concept.
Except that is, when it comes time to talk about money.
You see, just because most people are generally pleased that they no longer need to prove their spouse is a cheater before they’re allowed to kick-em to the curb, it doesn’t necessarily mean people don’t believe infidelity should go unpunished. (If you don’t believe me, just ask Mr. Tiger Woods; I’m sure he’d have a strong opinion on the matter).
In fact, parties often feel that their spouse’s transgressions should be used against them when it comes to a court deciding issues of spousal maintenance and property division. Unfortunately, in most states (including Arizona), the concept of “no fault” divorce also means that a spouse’s cheating ways cannot be used against him or her.
So, what should a person do if he wants to motivate his spouse to remain faithful? First, he should move to North Carolina. Trust me, I’m serious! In North Carolina, if you are the dependent party and your spouse is found to have engaged in “illicit sexual behavior” with someone else prior to separation, that spouse will be required to pay you alimony. Not only that, but the marital misconduct will be used by the court when determining just how much money should be awarded. On the flip side of that coin, however, if you are the dependent spouse and you are found to have engaged in “illicit sexual behavior” with someone other than your husband/wife, you will be barred from receiving any alimony payments whatsoever.
Unfortunately, however, most of us can’t just pack up and move to the Tar Heel state because of some faithful-friendly divorce laws. So, what should the rest of us do? Well, you could consider drafting-up a prenuptial agreement that includes a “fidelity clause.” In essence, a fidelity clause acts as a contractual condition requiring an unfaithful spouse to monetarily compensate his or her ex for marital promiscuity. Without one, a faithful spouse has little to no legal recourse when it comes to his or her philandering counterpart.
So, for all those who thought your faithfulness would result in greener pastures during your divorce proceeding, I’m sorry to say it, but you were wrong. Just ask any of the faithfully departed: “no-fault” divorce usually means “nobody cares”.