Does Adultery Matter in My Divorce?

It is no secret that the divorce rate is on the rise in the United States.  In addition to the rising divorce rate, the rate of infidelity has also been on the rise, White shirt with lipstickwith an estimated 30% to 60% of all married individuals committing some form of infidelity during their marriage.  Although infidelity may be a big driver behind your divorce, Minnesota is actually a no-fault divorce state.  This means that neither spouse is required to show that the other spouse has somehow committed wrongdoing in order to obtain a divorce.  As a result, one spouse’s adulterous acts will not result in one party “winning” the divorce simply because of the infidelity.  That said, there are some ways in which adultery may indirectly impact other aspects of the divorce.

Child custody can be one area in which adultery can affect the outcome.  If a parent has chosen to spend a lot of free time with the new boyfriend or girlfriend instead of spending that time with the children, that can be relevant. Courts want to see that a parent is prioritizing children and staying involved in their lives, and may accordingly not take a very bright view of a parent who consistently chooses time with a new love interest over quality time with children.  Similarly, if the new boyfriend or girlfriend has been introduced to the children too quickly or with inappropriate monikers (such as, “this is your new mom”), this inappropriate behavior may be taken into account.  Finally, if the new boyfriend or girlfriend is a convicted felon, a habitual drug user, or somehow otherwise inappropriate or a danger to the children, this will be taken into account.

Financially adultery can also impact a divorce.  If the person has dissipated marital assets in order to take the new girlfriend or boyfriend on lavish vacations or started paying their bills, this could mean that the equitable division of marital assets will take into account the spouse’s wrong-doing.  Similarly, if the adulterous spouse claims an inability to pay spousal maintenance, but has been finding the money to take their new significant other on dates or buy them gifts, the court will be less likely to believe claims that there are insufficient funds to pay spousal maintenance.

The ways in which marital fault such as adultery impact a divorce are far from straight-forward.  Call us today at 651-371-9117 so we can talk about your case and what we can do to help you with your future.