How does adultery play into divorce in South Carolina?

Many relationships end due to adultery. Everyone has their own reasons for why they commit adultery, such as the relationship feeling unfulfilling. In many states, a married couple does not need a reason to divorce, so if one person has committed adultery, then it will have no impact on the proceedings. 

However, South Carolina is not one of those states. If one spouse has committed adultery, then it can indeed have an impact on the divorce. The exception to this rule would be if one spouse gave the other permission to engage in sexual intercourse with another individual. However, if that is not the case, then adultery can impact the amount of alimony one spouse receives. 


Adultery’s impact on the marriage ending will not result in any significant impact on child custody or child support agreements. The area in which it does have an impact is alimony. For example, a spouse who cheated who would otherwise be eligible to receive alimony may not receive anything. 

Separation of property

Although it happens less frequently, spouses can lose out on property if the other party can prove the adulterer spent money on the paramour. For example, a judge may ordinarily order money received from selling the house to go between the two spouses evenly. However, if one spouse bought a paramour extravagant gifts using marital assets, then the judge may award more of the property to the victim as a form of compensation. If the spouse spent nothing on the paramour, then the court would most likely not take the infidelity into consideration when dividing assets. 

Burden of proof

As with many other legal matters, it comes down to the spouse to prove his or her partner committed infidelity. Eyewitness testimony, such as walking in on the spouse in the middle of the act, can certainly help. Other forms of evidence can include texts or emails between the spouse and the paramour.