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Can Cheating Be Grounds for Divorce in Michigan?

 Posted on October 24, 2022 in Divorce

Oakland County divorce lawyerAlthough you may justifiably feel wronged by your spouse’s infidelity, you may be surprised to learn that cheating is not grounds for divorce in Michigan. This is not because your spouse did not do anything wrong; rather, this is because Michigan no longer allows “grounds” for divorce and someone can file for divorce without providing reasons at all. 

However, infidelity may still have an impact on the outcome of a divorce case. After all, infidelity rarely happens without accompanying bad behavior; spending money inappropriately, neglecting relationship responsibilities, and even endangering children are all behaviors that can come along with cheating. To learn more about how infidelity might affect your divorce, read on. 

How Can Alimony Affect a Michigan Divorce Case?

Adultery has the potential to affect a divorce case in several ways. The first is that infidelity may affect the payment of alimony (known as spousal maintenance). Judges can consider the behavior of the spouses towards each other and each spouse’s role in causing the divorce. One of the reasons for this is that infidelity often involves inappropriately spending money on reasons unrelated to the divorce, such as on dates or gifts for a new partner. Spousal maintenance may be used as a way to offset this, although there may also be another way. 

A divorcing spouse may also claim asset dissipation in order to try to recover money a cheating spouse spent on their new partner. This is because both spouses are entitled to the marital estate, and significantly draining that estate without the consent of one partner is legally and ethically wrong. Proving asset dissipation may be challenging, because it requires evidence of the dissipation, but an attorney can help you gather evidence to show your spouse wasted marital money on their partner. 

Finally, the last area of a divorce which can sometimes be affected by cheating is that of child custody. Although cheating in and of itself is not cause for altering child custody arrangements, other behavior that commonly surrounds cheating might be sufficient. For example, if your spouse was supposed to be responsible for monitoring the children when you were working out of town, and instead left the children alone, unsupervised, for extended periods of time while he or she visited their new partner, that could call into question their parental fitness. Likewise, if a new partner poses the risk of harm to the children, whether through abuse or exposure to dangerous substances, a judge may restrict child custody to times when the new partner is not present. 

Contact a Novi, MI Divorce Lawyer

The experienced team of Oakland County, MI divorce attorneys with Elkouri Heath, PLC will do whatever it takes to make sure you get the divorce settlement to which you are entitled under Michigan law. If your spouse’s inappropriate behavior put you or your children at risk, we will work hard to find out whether that could impact the results of the divorce. Call 248-344-9700 today to schedule a free consultation and learn more. 




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