The sixth factor the court has to consider in determining the amount and duration of alimony is “the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties.” MD Family Law Article 11-106(6).
But can adultery after separation contribute to the estrangement of the parties? Nan Willoughby married Robert Willoughby in 1928. They had a stormy marriage for several years and Nan moved out in 1966 filing for divorce based on constructive desertion. Robert then moved in with another woman and Nan filed a supplemental complaint for adultery.
The trial judge found that the husband’s adultery was the fault that destroyed the home. The husband appealed arguing that the home had been destroyed with the separation of the parties some time before.
The Maryland Court of Appeals disagreed with the husband finding that:
Appellant wishes to isolate one point in time and determine the ‘fault which destroyed the home’ as of that time. We think the concept is broader than this, and permits the trial judge properly to consider all of the circumstances resulting in the destruction of the marriage, including the conduct and acts of the parties both prior and subsequent to actual physical separation.
Willoughby v. Willoughby, 256 Md. 590 (1970)