In general terms, no. Adultery committed by one spouse will not automatically cause an award of alimony to the other spouse; nor will such an act cause an increase in the amount of an alimony award. That being said, the act of adultery may have ancillary implications. For example, if the adulterating spouse used marital funds or assets in furtherance of the behavior, such disbursements may be a factor when considering the equitable division of the marital assets. Furthermore, should the spouse's adultery have negatively impacted the children, child custody (and therefore child support) may be implicated as well.
The first step is for an aggrieved spouse to file a Complaint for Divorce, along with other documents such as a Confidential Litigant Information Sheet, an Affidavit of Insurance Coverage, and soon thereafter, a Case Information Statement. This spouse becomes the Plaintiff, and the Complaint and a Summons must be served upon the other spouse, the Defendant, in accordance with the Rules of Court. The Defendant spouse must promptly file an Answer within the time prescribed by the Rules of Court. Failure to do so may result in a default Judgement of Divorce. Once an Answer is filed, along with the Defendant's Confidential Litigant Information Sheet, Affidavit of Insurance Coverage and Case Information Statement, the divorce is filed and litigation will proceed.
Prior to 2007, New Jersey statutorily enumerated a list of acts which constituted grounds for divorce. Such grounds included actions such as adultery, desertion and extreme cruelty. In pleading a fault-based divorce, the Plaintiff must prove the alleged claims. However, in keeping with progress of other states, in 2007 New Jersey recognized "irreconcilable differences" as legal grounds for a divorce. This is "no fault" basis for a divorce filing enables divorcing spouses to proceed with dissolving the marriage and to do so without airing the dirty laundry.
In general, a marriage with a duration of less than 20 years is subject to limited duration alimony that is typically equivalent to the length of the marriage. Marriages with a duration equal or greater than 20 years are subject to open duration alimony, or what was previously termed permanent alimony. That being said, New Jersey statutorily provides for exceptional circumstances which may extend the term of limited duration alimony or curtail the term of open duration alimony. There are additional forms of alimony, including rehabilitative alimony and reimbursement alimony which can be awarded exclusively or in conjunction with another form of alimony. Please visit this website's divorce page under Guides and Information for a more descriptive review of the types of alimony.