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Dec 15 2021

Will Proving Adultery Change My Divorce Settlement?

The vast majority of divorces in Minnesota are no-fault divorces, which means that the divorce in question is not based on either spouse’s fault in the matter. Some divorces are, however, predicated on fault, and adultery can be the basis. Adultery can obviously be incredibly destructive to a marriage, but proceeding with a fault-based divorce is a complicated decision that can backfire, and proceeding without the skilled guidance of a dedicated Minneapolis divorce attorney is a risky choice. 

Your Starting Position

The fact is that many divorces involve adultery – and many marriages survive adultery – and the court has heard it all. In other words, the court is not particularly interested in the issue of adultery (absent certain mitigating circumstances), and the judge in your case could find your focus on the matter more of an irritant than anything else. There are highly specific instances, however, when proceeding with a fault-based divorce – or highlighting the fact of your spouse’s adultery – may be well advised. 

Relevant Factors

If any of the following are true in your divorce, your savvy divorce attorney may include your spouse’s adultery in your divorce strategy:

  • If your spouse was spending down marital assets – or was racking up debt – in the course of his or her extramarital affair (in the form of lavish dinners, vacations, gifts, or anything else), the court is not likely to ignore the matter in the division of your marital property.    
  • If your spouse was devoting the majority of his or her time to the affair in question, it likely means that he or she failed to fulfill his or her parental responsibilities, which can play a significant role in the determination of your child custody arrangements. 
  • If you can demonstrate that your spouse’s romantic partner is someone who is not fit to be around your children (due, for example, to a criminal background, addiction issues, or mental health concerns), the court will take this into consideration in relation to child custody.

Further, if your spouse is having an affair, it can provide you with considerable leverage in terms of the divorce process. For example, he or she may be very interested in hurrying the matter of your divorce along (which can leave him or her more amenable to resolving the terms of your divorce more efficiently). There is also the matter of your spouse’s reputation and his or her relationship with your shared children – either one of which may make him or her more motivated to keep the matter of adultery quiet (providing you with more negotiating power). 

An Experienced Minneapolis Divorce Attorney Is on Your Side

The seasoned Minneapolis divorce attorneys at Atticus Family Law have the legal insight and drive to help you strategize the best path forward for you – with the unique circumstances of your divorce case at the forefront. To learn more about how we can help, please don’t wait to contact us today.

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