Alimony And Marital Misconduct

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If you’ve turned on cable news or opened a website in the last couple of days, you have probably heard about the Anthony Weiner scandal, which our Pittsburgh family lawyers have also been talking about. The former U.S. Congressman from New York City was forced to resign from office after allegations emerged (and he subsequently admitted) that he had sent sexually explicit text messages (engaged in “sexting”) and taken sexual photos that he sent to young women who were not his wife.

The furor over the scandal had seemingly died down in the couple of years since his behavior became known. Mr. Weiner then reentered the political arena (with the support of his wife, a former Hillary Clinton staffer), when s second round of allegations emerged in the last couple of days describing how Mr. Weiner continued to send sexually explicit photos and text messages even after his resignation from Congress, when he vowed to change his ways. His wife, Huma Abedin, said in an interview that she ultimately chose to stick by him, even though it was a difficult path to that decision.

While both Weiner and Abedin are financially well situated and are ultimately sticking it out, if they decided not to then Weiner might be on the hook for spousal support and/or alimony. In Pennsylvania, martial misconduct is one of the 17 factors that the Court will look at when deciding who should pay for alimony. Furthermore, marital misconduct is also an entitlement defense the payment of spousal support. In this case, if Weiner attempted to make a claim for spousal support, then Abedin would have a defense to paying it.

It is important to note that the PA statute describes “marital misconduct” as a factor to consider for alimony, which can include adultery among other things. The parties would likely each try to make a case characterizing what occurred as either constituting marital misconduct, or not. Additionally, marital misconduct is not a complete bar to alimony; it is only one of the factors that will be weighed. What could be extremely significant to a Court is if marital assets were used to aid in the marital misconduct.

Our Pittsburgh divorce attorneys are experienced at dealing with all manner of issues arising from requests for alimony or spousal support. If your spouse cheated, then our attorneys can help you to get the most that you are entitled to from them. We can also help if you were the one who strayed, by using possible defenses and other tactics to ensure that a mistake does not resign you to high payments for a long time. Contact our team today!