What Role Does Adultery Play in Tennessee Divorce?

What Role Does Adultery Play in Tennessee Divorce?

While the goal of marriage is to have it last forever, it doesn’t always work out quite like that. In Tennessee, each spouse’s conduct during the marriage can have an impact on the outcome of a divorce.

Before you can accuse a spouse of adultery, and then use that as grounds for divorce, you must have evidence to back up their accusation. The “feeling” that a partner is being unfaithful might not be enough; you may need phone records, texts or photographs, or credit card or other financial records, to show that you can divorce on these grounds.

Is cheating really that common?

According to Trustify’s annual survey on infidelity, of the respondents who admitted to infidelity:

  • 55% of male respondents cheated on their spouse with five or more people.
  • 50% of female respondents admitted to cheating with one person.
  • 32% of the men met the person they cheated with online.
  • 22% of the women met the person they cheated with in person at a social setting.

When men were asked why they cheated, some of the reasons included lack of sexual satisfaction in the marriage, a desire for more attention, and a desire for new experiences. Women respondents said that they were unfaithful out of a desire to seek revenge; some were “no longer romantically interested in my spouse” or “romantically interested in someone new.”

Do online affairs count?

The Trustify study asked participants for their opinions on emotional affairs and cyber affairs: relationships where no physical contact took place. According to their data, men felt that cyber affairs were definitely adultery (68%), but seemed split about emotional affairs (51% saying “yes.”) Women, however, came down firmly in the “yes” column for both online affairs (87%) and emotional affairs (62%).

While this is interesting, it may not be enough for a divorce on grounds of adultery. Under the law, adultery involves voluntary sexual contact. By this standard, an emotional affair or cyber affair would not necessarily count. You might have to prove that, despite the lack of sexual contact, your spouse was engaged in “inappropriate marital conduct,” such as treating the other person as a family member, or spending marital funds on him or her.

Adultery can affect spousal support

Adultery can have an impact on alimony. There are several factors that the judge can consider when deciding alimony, and adultery is one.

If you can prove that your spouse committed adultery, if that spouse would otherwise have been awarded alimony, he or she could lose it altogether, or it could be significantly reduced. If the party committing adultery dissipated marital resources supporting their lover, this could also impact how alimony is awarded. If you are the one who committed adultery, make sure you see a Nashville divorce lawyer right away, because it could affect how much support you pay or receive.

At Miller Upshaw Family Law, our skilled Nashville divorce lawyers know how to gather evidence and build a strong case against a cheating spouse. While the fact than one spouse was unfaithful may ruin the marriage, it will likely not have an impact on the equitable division of the marital property. To reserve a consultation at our Nashville office, please call 615-391-4200 or contact us.


By |June 12th, 2019|Divorce|0 Comments
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