The Risks of Adultery

If you plan on entering into the divorce process, you should have a firm understanding of what constitutes adultery. Some people may dismiss the risk of adultery because they choose to end their marriage for reasons other than adultery. If that is the case, why do you need to understand it? In South Carolina, adultery can affect many aspects of a divorce even if it is committed after separation.  That is a critical point because adultery is an absolute bar to alimony. Additionally, adultery is still a crime but is rarely prosecuted. 

Grounds For Divorce

States have their own laws for how they handle divorce proceedings. In South Carolina, you will have to cite grounds for your divorce. The fault based grounds in South Carolina consist of adultery, physical cruelty or abuse, and habitual drunkenness or drug abuse. 

There are numerous reasons why people would pursue a divorce outside of those mentioned above. You may have grown apart, and one or both of you no longer find your relationship meaningful or fulfilling. If that more closely resembles your situation, you must be separated for one year before filing—and that time must be continuous. (While there is still a ground of desertion, it is rarely used).


As mentioned earlier, adultery will also prevent you from receiving alimony. In addition to that, you may find yourself living separately from your spouse for a year before filing for divorce. It is precisely during this time that you have to be very careful about not committing adultery. 

Living apart from your spouse does not mean you are no longer married—because you are. You can commit adultery after you have separated and before there is a final order for dividing assets

If you enter into a relationship with someone else before that happens, you are committing adultery and are risking your ability to receive alimony—which you may be relying on. Adultery is also a factor that the Court considers in division of property and awards of attorney fees.  You may be inadvertently incriminating yourself by posting a picture of yourself with someone else on social media. Furthermore, private investigators may be hired to prove you are in a relationship while still legally married.  It is important to note that in order to prove adultery, you do not have to catch someone in the act, showing that they were inclined to commit adultery and had the opportunity to do so is enough for the Court to make a finding of adultery.

Cate & Brough, P.A.

Hiring a professional and experienced attorney is a fundamental step for protecting yourself during your divorce. You can consult with your attorney about when it is legally acceptable for you to begin dating again without jeopardizing alimony during the divorce process. For further information, call Cate & Brough, P.A. at (864) 585-4226 to schedule a consultation.

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Cate & Brough, P.A.

At Cate & Brough, we all have personal experience with family law and family court. We know more than just what the law says about your issue – we know what you are going through.

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