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How infidelity can play a role in Tennessee divorces

Infidelity is one of the most common reasons that marriages end. If a spouse is unfaithful, there can be a complete loss of trust and the non-cheating spouse can feel betrayed, manipulated and, of course, hurt and angry. Some couples can recover from an affair but many cannot.

This is a situation that millions of people may be dealing with in light of the recent data dump by hackers who stole and then released the names, emails and profile information of 38 million people who use the website AshleyMadison.com. The site is geared toward facilitating extramarital affairs. 

Whether you are affected by the recent data release or not, this can be a good time to remind readers in Tennessee that adultery can have an enormous impact on a divorce. 

While all states recognize no-fault divorces, which essentially means that neither party has to prove blame, Tennessee is one of the few states that also recognize fault-based divorces. This means that if your spouse cheated on you, you may file for divorce based on the grounds that he or she committed adultery.

Fault divorces differ from no-fault divorces in a few important ways. Most significantly, it can dramatically impact the money and assets that are awarded to the non-cheating spouse. In fault divorces, courts can take into account adulterous behaviors and decide to order alimony or increase alimony amounts for the non-cheating spouse. 

Another important difference is that fault divorces can be challenged. If one person objects to the divorce or has a defense to the allegations, the divorce process can be drawn out and end up being more costly.

Whether you are dealing with infidelity as a result of the recent hacking incident or not, you would be wise to learn more about the role that fault can play in a Tennessee divorce. Speaking with an attorney in this situation can be quite helpful.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Hackers Post Stolen User Data From Ashley Madison Breach," Danny Yadron, Aug. 19, 2015

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