Extramarital affairs have long been a leading cause of divorce. And thanks to hackers leaking millions of names and contact information of users of the Ashley Madison dating website, affairs are in the spotlight. Now couples want to know if and how they can use this information to gain extra ground during a divorce.
Using an Affair as Grounds for Divorce
Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state, which means that grounds are not necessary—or even considered—when it comes to seeking a divorce. This means neither party needs to claim or prove marital misconduct to have a judge grant the divorce.
How an Affair Can Affect Property Division
A judge will not award a cheated-upon spouse extra money or property due to an affair. That does not mean the affair will not have some impact on the final decree, however.
For instance, did your spouse use marital funds to support the affair, such as in the form of travel, hotel rooms or even gifts? If yes, a judge can order your spouse to pay you back for at least a portion of those costs.
Additionally, an affair can play a large role in property settlement discussions and agreements. Cheating spouses often feel a tremendous amount of guilt. This tends to result in those spouses agreeing to give up a larger portion of marital property than they would have otherwise.
How an Affair Can Affect Child Custody
When it comes to determining child custody arrangements, courts only care about what is in the best interests of your children. This “best interests” standard is built out of a variety of factors, which can include a parent’s suitability to parent. If there are elements to your spouse’s cheating that show questionable character, then those elements can come into play in the custody determination.
The most important thing to remember is how your divorce proceedings will affect your children. While you may want to make your adulterous spouse pay for what he or she did to you or how he or she made you feel, you do not want to air your dirty laundry in public. Your kids will hear about it, and it will hurt them.
You are better off doing all you can to work quickly through your divorce and moving forward with life. A long, drawn-out battle will only mean increased emotional and financial costs to everyone involved.