My friend has been married for less than two years and has a three-year-old daughter. He moved out of his house over six months ago but has not been able to afford a divorce yet. He and his wife have been planning to legally separate, and then convert to a divorce after the allotted amount of time, but he’s getting anxious about it and would like to get it over with already. We are curious as to the formal definition of “adultery” and what implications it is admitting to adultery might have for his future alimony. Also, since his wife works (although she makes less than he does), will he have to pay alimony at all? We live in NY state.
Adultery is one of 6 grounds for divorce under the New York State Domestic Relations Law Section 170. It is defined as “the commission of an act of sexual or deviate sexual intercourse, voluntarily performed by the defendant, with a person other than the plaintiff after the marriage of plaintiff and defendant.” Any forgiveness by the plaintiff, would nullify the grounds.
The admission of adultery in the courts in New York State generally does not impact on the distribution of the marital assets, unless there was some particularly egregious act which would cause the judge to make a more substantial award to the plaintiff.
Spousal support (what you refer to as “alimony”) depends on many factors, including the length of the marriage, the ability of the other spouse to earn enough to support himself/herself, such spouse’s condition of health, and financial position (savings, separate property, etc.), etc.
If you are located in the New York City metropolitan area, please call me at 212-370-1660 to discuss this matter in greater length.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions