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How Does Adultery Affect a Divorce in Alabama?

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Divorce Law
Post Author Image This article was reviewed and approved for publication by Attorney Charlotte Christian.
Alabama divorce laws adultery

In the gracious state of Alabama, where azaleas bloom and Southern charm still reigns, adultery is widely seen as a serious moral and legal failing.

As such, adultery in Alabama has significant consequences. To fully understand these effects, we need to comprehend what Alabama divorce laws say about adultery.

This task, in turn, requires us to explore the complex fabric of matrimonial law in Alabama, which includes interwoven threads of morality, tradition, and jurisprudence. Let’s navigate this tapestry together to explore the role adultery plays in Alabama divorces.

For immediate assistance from our experienced Alabama divorce lawyers, please reach us online or call (256) 859-7277 today.

Is Adultery Illegal in Alabama?

Technically, it is. In Alabama, the institution of marriage is deeply respected, and the law reflects this respect. Thus, the State of Alabama does not view a violation of the sanctity of marriage as merely a private matter between spouses. It is a criminal offense.

According to the Code of Alabama § 13A-13-2, adultery is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. That means it is punishable by a fine or a jail sentence of up to six months. That said, it’s a rarely prosecuted offense. Nevertheless, the existing law underlines the strong moral currents that shape the state’s legal perspective on marital matters.

The intriguing complexity, however, lies in how this moral perspective translates into divorce proceedings, where adultery in Alabama plays a more significant, practical role.

Alabama Divorce Laws: Adultery as Grounds for Divorce

Alabama’s matrimonial law recognizes both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. The former option’s primary advantage is speed. However, fault-based divorces offer the injured spouse the opportunity to recover significantly more assets than would otherwise be allowed. Adultery can also affect the application of some prenuptial agreements

The Impact on Alimony and Property Division

Alabama’s courtrooms pay keen attention to adultery when determining the award of alimony. Per Alabama Code § 30-2-51, a court may consider the adulterous conduct of a spouse when deliberating on the need, amount, and duration of alimony.

Consequently, adultery can lead to situations where the cheating spouse receives only a small amount of alimony, even if that spouse makes less than their marriage partner. In certain circumstances, adultery may bar a spouse from receiving alimony altogether.

Property division is also influenced by adultery. Alabama follows an equitable distribution model, which requires a fair, albeit not necessarily equal, division of marital property. If one spouse’s adulterous escapades led to the misuse or squandering of marital assets, the court may award the innocent spouse a larger share of the pie.

Custody and Visitation Rights

In the realm of child custody and visitation, adultery’s role is a bit more subtle. Whether adultery is present or absent from the divorce, the court’s chief guiding principle is the best interest of the child. Thus, an Alabama court will not factor in adultery unless it directly impacts the child’s welfare.

If a spouse’s adulterous behavior has negatively influenced the child, this factor could tip the scales in custody decisions. If you want to learn more about this specific interaction, take a moment to check out our article on adultery and child custody.

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Proving Adultery

To charge a spouse with adultery in an Alabama divorce case is one thing; to prove it is another. The law demands substantial evidence, which might include witness testimony, photographs, or written communication.

You do not necessarily need to have direct evidence of adultery, such as videotape evidence of a sexual encounter. However, you do need to have enough circumstantial evidence so that there is “more than a mere suspicion” of adultery. This evidentiary journey can be challenging, necessitating legal guidance. 

Defenses Against Adultery in Alabama

There are several defenses against the charge of adultery. 

According to Alabama’s state code, adultery may not be a ground for an at-fault divorce when:

  • Both spouses committed adultery;
  • The innocent spouse learned of the adultery, accepted it, and continued in the marriage; or
  • One spouse either “knew of or connived” to have the other spouse commit adultery.

Finally, divorce may be refused if at least one spouse committed adultery with the other’s consent for the purpose of obtaining a divorce.

Want to Know More About How Alabama Divorce Laws View Adultery? Contact Us Today.

As you can see, the adultery laws in Alabama are complicated. That means that the assistance of an experienced legal advocate will be invaluable. The outstanding team at The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates possesses both the wisdom of years of experience and a dedication to justice. This makes us ideal partners if you are considering hiring legal counsel for this journey.

Thanks to our expertise, we can carefully collect and analyze applicable evidence, ensuring the truth of adultery surfaces. Simultaneously, our understanding of the law allows us to navigate the implications of adultery on things like alimony, property division, and child custody.

Lastly, our firm embraces the humanity at the heart of each case. Here, we understand the pain, anger, and confusion that often accompany adultery. We know that, though the azaleas continue to bloom, your world might feel as if it has fallen apart. We’re here to help you put it back together again. Call (256) 859-7277 or contact us online to get started. 

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