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Does Cheating Matter in Divorce in Michigan?

Does Cheating Matter in Divorce in Michigan?

Divorce in Michigan is considered no-fault, allowing you and your spouse to divorce without either of you proving the other committed any bad conduct. All you have to allege is that your marriage to your spouse is irretrievably broken. Whether cheating was involved on either side does not matter in this decision.

However, cheating can still impact your Michigan divorce case. The precise impact it will have likely depends on numerous factors, assuming the existence of the affair itself can be proven. Specifically, the court’s orders regarding property division, spousal support, and even child custody might differ if cheating is involved.

When Cheating Matters in Michigan

Suppose that you file for divorce in Michigan because you caught your partner cheating on you. In and of itself, this fact alone does not have much of an impact on how your divorce case will proceed. 

However, the court will consider additional circumstances about the affair, including whether the adulterous party used any marital property to support the affair and who the extramarital party is. In particular, these details might affect how the court decides on areas such as:

Division of Marital Property

The court could consider whether the other party used marital assets to support the affair, as it decides on a fair and equitable distribution of marital property. The more marital funds that were spent on the illicit relationship, the more likely it is that the court will offset the amount the cheating partner gets by what they used for the benefit of their extramarital partner.

Spousal Support

Like property division, spousal support is a matter that each court gets to decide for every case. One partner’s cheating does not automatically entitle the other to spousal support, no matter how flagrant the cheating or how embarrassing it might have been to the other spouse. However, courts take a closer look at cheating and its impacts when marital property is used to support the affair. 

For instance, suppose that the cheating party squandered considerable marital assets on the affair — to the point that the non-cheating spouse would still have ongoing difficulties establishing themselves independently even after equitably dividing the remaining assets. In that case, a judge may require the cheating party to pay spousal support.

Child Custody and Support

Child support is calculated based on a formula that does not take cheating into account. Similarly, child custody does not normally consider whether one spouse cheated in the marriage. However, if the extramarital partner has a criminal record or might otherwise endanger the child, a court may order supervised visitation or decline to give the cheating party primary residential custody.

Does Cheating Matter in Michigan? It Depends

The fact that one spouse cheated on the other may not matter to the court in deciding to grant the divorce. Nonetheless, it can play a role in several of the related decisions a court must make during a divorce case. 

If you are the spouse who was cheated on, a skilled Michigan divorce lawyer can help you gather documentation that proves the existence and extent of the affair. Your lawyer can also help explain the impact of the affair on your finances. This can give the court an accurate understanding of what property and spousal support would be fair to award you.

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