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How Does Infidelity Affect Alimony Awards in Connecticut?

Divorce Attorney Meghan Freed at a table discussing alimony and infidelity in Connecticut divorces.One of the questions we are asked at Freed Marcroft is how a spouse’s infidelity impacts alimony awards in a Connecticut divorce.  Discovering that your spouse has been unfaithful can be devastating, and may lead you to the decision to end the marriage.

Connecticut law entitles you to a divorce that lets you start over. What is not so straightforward is to what degree infidelity affects alimony awards or property division.

At one time, a spouse who had sexual relations outside the marriage was not legally entitled to alimony. Today, Connecticut courts are more lenient, but judges still have the authority to take infidelity into account when they determine how much alimony a spouse may receive when they divorce.

Factors That Affect Alimony in Connecticut

There is no formula for alimony in Connecticut.  Instead, courts take several factors into consideration when deciding the amount and duration of a divorce alimony award in Connecticut. Those factors include the duration of the marriage and the age, health, and employability of both spouses. One accepted criterion in Connecticut is “the cause for the breakdown of the marriage,” which makes adultery relevant if your spouse committed infidelity frequently or was having an affair with someone else at the time you filed for divorce. This is especially true if there was a detrimental effect on the marital estate.

If, for example, your spouse ran up the balance on your joint credit cards or used marital funds for buy gifts for their boyfriend or girlfriend, their affair increased your liability and decreased the value of the marital estate, so a judge may opt to compensate you by awarding more alimony for a longer period of time.

Introducing Evidence Post Divorce

It is important to remember that in Connecticut infidelity can only be introduced as evidence in favor of alimony prior to the divorce decree being finalized. Once an alimony order is issued, neither you nor your former spouse can modify it by introducing evidence of previous adultery or any other type of misconduct. These factors are only relevant when the court is initially deciding whether to award alimony, how much you are entitled to, and for how long.

When your former spouse has been unfaithful, alimony can give you the stronger financial footing you need to embrace a new and better future. At Freed Marcroft we believe in setting up our clients for a secure and successful post-divorce life, and that can include the right amount of spousal support for the right amount of time.  To speak to a team member and schedule your Goals & Planning Conference, start here.