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In North Carolina, unless one spouse is clinically insane, couples can only file for divorce after a one-year separation period.
If a spouse commits adultery prior to the beginning of the separation, it affects issues of alimony.
If a married but separated man takes a woman out for dinner, but drops her off at the end of the evening and goes his own way, it’s generally not adultery. If he dates that woman repeatedly and they begin spending time together in each other’s homes, this can open the door for his spouse to claim the affair is adulterous because sexual contact might be taking place.
In some states, adultery is a crime, although it is rarely prosecuted.
This can affect issues of property distribution and alimony.
However, some states, such as North Carolina, make a legal distinction between dating during separation and dating while living together as man and wife.
If you do, it’s bigamy – unless you honestly believe that your first spouse divorced you or died.
This article was co-authored by Klare Heston, LICSW.
Klare Heston is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Ohio.
She received her Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1983.
There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
In states that still recognize fault-based divorces, adultery has more of an impact.