Adultery is not defined within the Tennessee Code but is widely accepted by the judiciary to mean sexual intercourse between a married person and a third party other than one’s spouse.
An emotional affair, while not technically adultery, can still be considered inappropriate marital conduct, the catch-all fault ground for divorce in our state.
Children who suffer a series of losses can end up with a sense that it is not safe to develop close friendships.
That can impact all of their friendships as well as their attitudes about marriage. Not only can the decision to date prior to the divorce make things more difficult emotionally for your client and his or her family, but there may be negative financial ramifications for your client as well.
A spouse who is carrying on an extramarital relationship during divorce proceedings should be aware that spending marital assets in pursuit of this other relationship can violate the statutory injunction that automatically becomes effective upon the filing of a divorce complaint. The legal ramifications of dissipating marital assets in pursuit of an illicit romance can be manifold: an adjudication of civil or criminal contempt for violating the statutory injunction; an adjustment of the division of marital assets to compensate the non-cheating spouse for the wrongful spending of the other; and/or a downward or upward adjustment to a potential alimony award, depending on whether the cheating spouse is the alimony recipient or obligor, respectively.For example, if the spouse seeking alimony has engaged in a course of infidelity that was sustained and prolonged, a judge can adjust the alimony award downward.The legal rationale is that the conduct of the spouse, deliberate and offensive to the goals of the marital contract, should not be awarded with anything but the most minimal maintenance award permitted by law. The potential financial ramifications associated with the decision to date prior to finalization of the divorce can be exacerbated if your client goes so far as to already be living with the paramour before the divorce is final.Anne Kass, former district judge, Division XVII, Albuquerque, New Mexico, divorce cases in which one spouse has become involved with someone else tend to be “horribly acrimonious and expensive because there is very little that can turn a divorce case into a thermonuclear war quite like the involvement of one spouse with a new companion.” Not only will the offending spouse be scrutinized, but so will his or her paramour. Written discovery, depositions, subpoenas, restraining orders and motion hearings can all become part of an otherwise uneventful lawsuit, driving up not just the temperature but the legal fees as well.
The other spouse may knowingly or subconsciously take steps to alienate the children, relatives and friends against the offending spouse.Extramarital involvement after separation can constitute marital fault.