Divorce in Michigan Caused by Infidelity

Regardless of the reason two people decide to get divorced, the process can be difficult, from both a practical and an emotional standpoint.  However, when the cause for divorce is infidelity, the proceedings can become much more contentious.  In the state of Michigan, no-fault divorce means that no blame is assigned during divorce proceedings.  However, fault could play a role when it comes to related matters like division of property or the awarding of alimony.

There are many potential causes for divorce, from irreconcilable differences (where no one is at fault, or where both parties are at fault), to legal concerns like fraud, duress, or abuse, just for example.  In terms of assigning fault after the fact, infidelity is one of the most common reasons, but it may be more complicated than simply calling your spouse a cheater.  How does infidelity impact divorce proceedings in Michigan?  Here’s what you should know.

Types of Infidelity

Believe it or not, there is more than one type of infidelity recognized by the law.  Most people think of infidelity in terms of a traditional affair, by which one spouse is carrying on a romantic, physical relationship with a third party.  This is not the only valid form of infidelity, though.

Infidelity could also include, say, a one-night stand – a one-time event that the offending spouse may chalk up to drunkenness or a simple bad choice.  It could include an emotional relationship with a third party that is detrimental to the marriage.  It could even be a relationship that takes place online, say over social media.

If one spouse feels that infidelity occurred, in whatever form, he/she can make a case for the court to consider, and if the court deems the infidelity substantial, it could sway the outcome of decisions regarding division of assets and/or alimony.  The judge will have to determine how substantial the infidelity was and weigh it against other factors before reaching a final decision.

Don’t Count Your Chickens

It’s important to remember that fault can be a double-edged sword.  Just because one spouse cheated in some way doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she is the only one at fault for the divorce.  Perhaps both spouses committed infidelities at different times or of different magnitudes.

Maybe one spouse cheated because of alienation of affections by the other spouse.  Perhaps the real reason for divorce was financial issues, rather than the infidelity.  Courts consider a variety of factors when determining separation of assets and alimony, and fault may fall on both sides.

The Impact of Infidelity

The real question when it comes to fault in divorce is what impact infidelity actually has on the outcome of alimony and separation of property.  The truth is, it depends on the situation and the determination of the court.

Michigan courts strive for equitable division of assets, and they don’t generally stray too far from that formula, even if infidelity is a factor.  You can reasonably expect that both property division and alimony will not favor one party more than 59% in cases of infidelity.

If you are involved in a divorce where infidelity is a factor, a qualified and experienced lawyer can help you through the process.  Contact The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190.

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