How Does Cheating Affect a Michigan Divorce?
Just as feelings clash and accusations fly, cheating and alimony fan the flames of relationship angst and often leave permanent emotional scars. After perhaps years of budding romance, bonding, and the start of a wonderful life together; a single act of adultery can bring it all crashing down and the detritus can follow a couple like a persistent and brooding shadow.
If adultery ultimately leads to a failed relationship and subsequent divorce, it is critical to fully understand your rights, outcomes, and obligations. Thoughtfully and responsibly approaching these details in divorce proceedings is a positive first step toward recovering from a significant life event. As with many laws and regulations, the issue of alimony is not the same in every state.
The State of Michigan’s View of Adultery
The short version of divorce in Michigan is this is a “no fault” state. The ubiquitous term “irreconcilable differences” is all a party needs to initiate a divorce. The key here is Michigan courts don’t lay blame to either party. In fact, judges only wish to hear details of the marriage’s demise and care nothing for mutterings and accusations of marital dalliances.
However, adultery does have an impact on divorce proceedings. Adultery is a rarely prosecuted offense but it is indeed a felony crime in Michigan, provided a complaint is filed within one year.
Depending on the details of a case, judges are authorized to award alimony in a variety of ways, with a desired end goal of securing an equal standard of living for each party. For reference, a person receiving alimony is the supported spouse (obligee) and a person paying alimony is the paying spouse (obligor).
What does that look like in a real-time example? Judges in Michigan can, for example, order permanent or temporary alimony, awarded in long-term marriage cases and pending divorce respectively. In some scenarios, a receiving spouse may need sufficient funds to maintain a property until the divorce is finalized.
In other instances, a paying spouse might be unable to provide sufficient spousal support in which case a judge involves property assets or estates.
In all cases, however, a judge’s decision must be fair to both parties—based on spousal need and spousal ability to provide.
Adultery’s Influence on Alimony Awards
Michigan’s appellate courts require judges to make their final alimony decisions based on factors such as:
- Past relations and conduct of spouses
- Duration of marriage
- Property settlement details
- Ability to pay, balanced with needs
- Prior standard of living
- General principles of fairness
While Michigan judges do not base divorce decisions on fault, they must look at fault when delivering decisions on alimony. For example, if one spouse’s adulterous actions caused the divorce and siphoned funds from the couple’s estate; that becomes very influential to the case.
If you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences and you need legal advice and/or representation, contact the experts at The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190 to learn more and discuss your options.
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