Under Minnesota law, either spouse may "sue" the other for divorce with no particularly grounds required. But does that mean that your divorce judge won't take infidelity, domestic violence or other serious misbehavior into account when making decisions about alimony, property division and custody?
This blog will discuss how marital misbehavior may impact your final divorce settlement.
Infidelity may impact custody and parenting time decisions
As always, your child's best interests will always take highest priority in Minnesota family law courts. If you are divorcing your spouse because of his or her infidelity, it may seem "only fair" that the courts will award you custody as a form of punishment. While your judge may take infidelity into consideration, it won't necessarily affect the custody decision. The judge will want to know about the character of the third party and whether your spouse is likely to marry him/her after your divorce is final.
One of the most important questions regarding infidelity and custody will be whether the children were exposed to the third party and how it may have affected their relationship with the parents.
The infidelity will not have an impact on child support obligations, which are determined by a formula in Minnesota.
Marital property and spousal support
Although infidelity or other misbehavior is not supposed to affect the division of property or spousal support (alimony), there are some instances where it can. If it is discovered that a significant amount of money was spent on the affair, or secret debt built up related to gambling or chemical dependency, the judge may award additional property, alimony or debt to either part.
In short, "no-fault" divorce means what it says; one spouse's poor behavior may have caused the other spouse to file, but it might not have any affect on the divorce judgment.
Whether you are filing for divorce in Minnesota, or have been served, get straight answers from an experienced family law attorney.