Discovering that your spouse has been cheating on you is a rotten feeling, particularly if the affair has been going on for a long time. It might feel like your whole relationship has been a lie.
If you decide to proceed with a divorce and have a family that needs you, things become even more complicated. Of course you’re willing to provide for your children, but why should you have to pay alimony to someone who cheated on you?
Before we address alimony laws in NJ, let’s first discuss what alimony is.
Alimony is a court-ordered provision after a separation or divorce. The “support spouse” must make alimony payments to the “dependent spouse.”
Generally, a spouse is dependent when they are substantially reliant on the support spouse. For example, one spouse may have quit their job to stay home and take care of the children, and therefore, unable to provide for themselves financially.
Many spouses have no problem paying alimony if the separation is mutual or the supporting spouse was unfaithful. But if it’s the dependent spouse that cheated, is it right for them to receive alimony? What are the laws in the state of New Jersey?
There are several factors that the New Jersey courts will consider when determining alimony:
The duration of the marriage.
The age and physical health of both spouses.
The standard of living throughout the marriage.
The incomes and educational levels of both spouses.
The parental responsibilities for the children.
Marital fault, however, is not one of the factors. Typically, the actions of one spouse does not affect the financial outcome of the case. It can be crushing to hear this, but it’s the way the NJ court system works.
If you think you might have to pay alimony to your spouse who cheated, it’s possible that there are other options. First, if your spouse plans on living with the person they have been having an affair with, you might be able to reduce the amount of alimony you need to pay.
As a matter of fact, if it can be proven that your ex will be cohabiting with this person, you may not have to pay at all. Second, marital misconduct can lead to economic hardships on your end, which can also impact a judge’s ruling on how much alimony you have to pay.
Work with your attorney to see which options you have. You may be encouraged to hire a NJ private investigator to gather evidence to support your case. Private investigators are very good at catching people in the act, and they may be able to prove that your ex is living with their new partner.