What constitutes marital misconduct in North Carolina?

Griffin Law, PLLC
May 24, 2021

North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, meaning you or your one-time partner should be able to initiate a divorce without having to prove that the other party erred somehow. However, if your spouse engaged in certain unethical or unsavory behaviors during your marriage, it may help your case if you decide to seek alimony or spousal support.

Per the North Carolina General Assembly, you may find it easier to secure spousal support during your divorce if you are able to prove that something called “marital misconduct” took place. Many different actions and behaviors may fall under the marital misconduct umbrella. Here are a few examples.


If your spouse voluntarily stepped out on your marriage and had intimate relations with someone else, this may constitute marital misconduct.


Abandonment occurs if your spouse up and leaves your shared residence without reason and without informing you of his or her plans to do so. Abandonment also means he or she does so without having any plans to return to the marriage.

Cruel or barbarous treatment

If your spouse treated you in a cruel or inhumane manner and your life was in danger because of it, this may also constitute marital misconduct.

Excessive use of substances

If your spouse used drugs or alcohol to the point where your life became intolerable as a result of his or her dependency, you may have grounds to argue marital misconduct.

While having evidence that marital misconduct took place may help your alimony case, know that marital misconduct alone is not always enough to secure an alimony award. Many other variables may also impact spousal support decisions.

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