Family Law Blog

Can Martial Misconduct Affect Your Divorce?

Monday, January 06, 2020

There is a certain belief that your conduct in a marriage can affect your divorce. It certainly can, but not often in the way we believe. As a no-fault divorce state, you need not declare any bad actions in terms of your reason for a divorce in most areas. Indeed, it doesn't matter if one spouse was adulterous or if you just stopped clicking, the state doesn't care. However, this situation is often confused with marital misconduct.

Financial Outcome

It is true you don't need a reason to get divorce in most states, but if there has been marital misconduct in a marriage, it can affect the financial outcome. When two people divorce, the courts like to keep asset and property division fairly equal between them. If the two parties can reach an agreement outside of court, some asset division can be unequal between the two, but still approved if not completely outrageous.

Assets

However, if there was misconduct in a marriage, it can affect how the assets are divided. It is important to remember that marital misconduct in regards to unequal asset division is not meant to be a punishment, but rather to reduce what has been an added burden on the spouse that acted in good faith during the marriage.

This means that a common marital misconduct situation - adultery - would not automatically mean that the spouse that didn't cheat would get more. However, if the non-cheating spouse can prove the adulterous spouse showered their extramarital partner with expensive gifts that put a burden on the family financially, it will be likely that the courts will give the spouse acting in good faith a larger share of the assets in the divorce.

Yes, There Is an Effect

So in truth, marital misconduct does affect the divorce. If you can prove that their actions were wasteful with marital assets or placed a stronger burden on you in the marriage, you may be able to get more when the remaining assets are split.

If you have a spouse that has been cheating, gambling, or that have an addiction and you are considering a divorce, contact us today. As veterans of family law, Jamra & Jamra can help you get through this difficult process.