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Michigan Family Law Blog

Fault and Divorce in Michigan

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Oct 04, 2023 | 0 Comments

All states now have some form of no-fault divorce.  This means when a marriage is irretrievably broken or the spouses have irreconcilable differences, they can divorce in Michigan without a judge or jury having to find fault. Fault however can still play a part in division of property and/or the award of alimony or spousal support as it is known in Michigan. 

At North Oakland Michigan Divorce Law, our divorce lawyer in Oakland County knows the law and will advise you on what option for divorce is best in your unique situation. Contact us online or at (248) 608-4123 to schedule a consultation.

What is a Fault-Based Divorce?

While Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, a spouse's actions that have caused the breakdown of the marriage can still be considered by the court when determining how the property should be divided and is specifically considered as one of the statutory factors the court must consider when fashioning and alimony award.  The following is a non-exclusive list of "matrimony offenses,” which the court might determine have led to the breakdown of the marriage. 

Common Matrimony Offenses in Michigan


Adultery occurs when one spouse has sexual relations with someone else outside of the marriage. However in most cases, the court will only look at this behavior before one of hte spouse's has filed for divorce.  Once the divorce is filed, while it still may be technically illegal in Michigan, the activity will not usually be considered in the fault analysis by the court because one party has already filed for divorce, so the activity occurring after the filing did not actually lead to the breakdown of the marriage. 


Abandonment is also referred to as desertion but it is not something that one has to prove in Michigan. This occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home with no notice and no intention to return. It typically includes one spouse no longer contributing to the financial obligations of the family without a valid reason. The failure to contribute financially is really the issue because this can be a reason to award one spouse more equity in the home or some other form of compensation.


Incarceration is almost always considered as part of the analysis when one spouse is incarcerated for a variety of reasons.  Of course, it will most likely impact custody, parenting time and all other aspects of a divorce case.

may be the reason for a fault divorce. In most states that allow incarceration as a matrimony offense, the spouse must be confined for a specified minimum amount of time. 

Inability to Have Sexual Intercourse

Many states recognize the inability to engage in sexual intercourse as grounds for a fault divorce. Typically, the inability must have been concealed prior to marriage. Also, this is not to be confused with one spouse voluntarily abstaining from sex. Rather, it is the physical inability to have sexual intercourse. 

Are There Benefits to Alleging or Proving Fault in a Michigan Divorce?

While proving or alleging fault in a divorce may be a little more complicated, there are reasons why it can be beneficial to pursue this route when seeking a divorce.  If it is important to you that your former partner's wrongdoing be brought to the attention of the court, then you should pursue allegations of fault.   Particularly when it comes to cases where it may benefit you financially when it comes to the division of property or the determination of spousal support.

Why Hire a Divorce Attorney in Oakland County?

If you are considering filing for divorce, or if your spouse has filed for divorce, you should seek the counsel of a divorce attorney in your area. They will know the laws in Michigan and are able to provide you with specific guidance regarding how you should proceed under your particular circumstances. 

Contact A Divorce Lawyer in Michigan Today

Fault-based divorces can be more contentious and last longer than no-fault divorces. At North Oakland Michigan Divorce Law, our divorce lawyer in Oakland County wants to make sure you get what you deserve while helping make the whole fault-based divorce process move along without too many hiccups. If you have been wronged and feel that it will make a difference to file a fault-based divorce or if you have been served a divorce based on fault but disagree with it, contact us online or call us directly at (248) 608-4123 to schedule a consultation.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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