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How does adultery impact a divorce?

The divorce rate has remained high in the United States over the last few decades, and adultery continues to be a common reason for it. According to the latest data gathered on infidelity, while women appear to cheat to try to reestablish an emotional connection, men most often cheat for purely physical reasons. 

Adultery can either play a minimal role in the divorce proceedings, or it can drastically impact the outcome. It ultimately comes down to the details of the act. Here are the various ways adultery can affect divorce in Tennessee.

Adultery creates fault-based grounds for divorce

Tennessee allows for no-fault divorces, but the law requires the spouses to live separately for two years before proceeding with the final divorce. However, in the event one spouse cheated on the other, then it becomes a fault-based divorce. This means the couple can divorce immediately rather than waiting. 

Adultery can break a prenuptial agreement

Many couples choose to put an adultery clause in a prenup, which states that the cheating party will pay more alimony if caught in the act. This is a lawful clause, and it will hold up in court as long as the other party can prove conclusively that adultery took place.

The burden of proof falls on the other spouse

Tennessee law states you cannot take pictures of a cheating spouse if there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, you can take photographs of your spouse in public with his or her paramour. Statements from witnesses may also be admissible in court. 

The adulterer spent a lot of money on the affair

A one-time fling will likely not result in any more money that the standard amounts often allowed for alimony and/or child support. However, if the spouse spent a lot of money on the paramour, such as paying for extravagant vacations, then the court may award the person's soon-to-be ex-spouse with additional compensation, especially if the money for such expenses came out of a joint account. 

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