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How does adultery impact a North Dakota divorce?

When you split from your spouse in North Dakota, you need to determine under what grounds you plan to seek the divorce. The state recognizes seven main causes of divorce, and one of those seven causes is adultery, or the cheating of one spouse on the other.

Per the North Dakota Legislature, adultery occurs when one married party has voluntary sexual intercourse with someone who is not his or her spouse. Adultery is one of six “fault-based” grounds for divorce recognized in North Dakota, and if your partner has stepped out on your marriage, you are going to have to show proof of his or her doing so.

Proving adultery in court

Proving that your partner cheated might involve you enlisting the aid of certain types of professionals, such as private investigators. A private investigator may be able to find proof that adultery took place by taking photos, videos or otherwise gathering evidence that indicates as much. It is worth noting, however, that you or your partner’s actions do not constitute adultery in the eyes of the law if the other party knew about it, forgave the cheating spouse and continued the relationship.

Understanding whether adultery impacts spousal support

Cheating, by itself, does not mean the party cheated on is going to get spousal support in the split. However, adultery is one of many different factors a judge may consider when deciding whether an alimony award is appropriate and necessary.

It is also worth noting that, if you or your partner did cheat, this typically does not have an effect on any child custody-related decisions that may take place in the event of a divorce.