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Infidelity, alimony and property division

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2023 | Alimony, Divorce, Property Division

Discovering that your spouse was unfaithful during your marriage often results in significant pain, and it can lead you to consider divorcing your spouse.

While it is understandable to feel heartbroken and angry at your spouse for their actions, it is critical to understand how Tennessee courts look at these scenarios before you decide to file for divorce.

No-fault state

Tennessee is a “no-fault” state, meaning the court does not consider the reasons for the divorce when determining issues like alimony and property division. The fact that your spouse was unfaithful does not entitle you to more of the marital property or spousal support.

While the emotional toll of infidelity can be significant, and it often is, it typically does not directly affect the financial aspects of the divorce settlement, per Tennessee divorce law.

Factors the court considers

When it comes to alimony, also known as spousal support, family courts base their decisions on information other than the reasons for the divorce, such as the length of the marriage, each of the spouses’ earning capacity, what each spouse contributed to the marriage and the overall financial needs of each spouse.

For example, if one spouse exited the workforce to care for the couple’s children and the other spouse became the sole breadwinner of the family, the court will take that into consideration when determining alimony because, depending on the length of the marriage, the spouse who exited the workforce may not have significant work experience and may be older in age, both factors that may make it difficult for them to get a job.

Equitable distribution

Tennessee follows equitable distribution principles when dividing marital assets. This means that the court aims to divide marital property fairly but not necessarily equally, given that it takes the above factors (and others) into account when deciding on the division of assets.


In certain cases, if the spouse who was unfaithful spent marital funds to support the affair or gave the person with whom they had an affair money or assets that belonged to the married couple, the court may take that into account. This type of scenario can affect the court’s financial determination in the divorce settlement.

Working with an attorney who has counseled clients who have gone through similar situations is important and can make a significant difference in the case’s outcome. It is critical for the attorney to be knowledgeable about these nuances and exceptions to Tennessee’s divorce laws so that they can argue for the best interests of their client.

Divorce is a difficult and complicated process for everyone who has to go through it, especially when the reasons for the divorce are painful and strong emotions are involved in the decision to divorce.

Knowing that there is hope on the other side and that you will recover is important to keep in mind during the divorce process so you can remain rational when deciding what your goals are and be able to communicate them clearly.

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