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My wife committed adultery - Could she still get alimony?

Maryland is a fault-based state, meaning that there must be legal justification for a divorce. One valid reason is adultery. Although cheating can impact child custody and other parts of a divorce, alimony is one thing that is not affected. This means that, unfortunately for the spouse who was cheated on, he or she may still have to fork over monthly spousal support payments according to Maryland state law.

For the most part, alimony is awarded based on financial need. A spouse who earns a six-figure income likely does not need spousal support to help pay for living expenses after a divorce. But, if a multi-millionaire leaves his wife - a stay-at-home mom - he will likely have to pay a substantial amount of alimony so she can maintain the million-dollar lifestyle she was used to during the marriage.

If your spouse committed adultery, the judge can use that information - from an economic standpoint - to determine alimony awards. For example, if the cheating spouse used the couple's joint account to support the affair through gifts, hotel rooms and other expenses, then prohibiting alimony can be considered. However, from a legal standpoint, a spouse is not automatically barred from receiving spousal support because of the infidelity if finances were not affected.

If you think you may be forced to pay alimony to a cheating spouse, you could try to appeal the motion or least try to negotiate the settlement. With sufficient evidence, you may be able to prove that alimony is not required for your former spouse to maintain the standard of living he or she enjoyed before the divorce.

Source: FindLaw, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics," accessed March 8, 2015

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