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Michigan Family Law Blog

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Fault and Divorce in Michigan: Part One - Infidelity

Fault and Divorce in Michigan 

When handling divorce matters, the issue of fault often comes up.  In Michigan, by law, there are many types of fault that the court may consider when dividing property or awarding alimony.  The primary type of fault that most people think of when it comes to the topic of divorce is infidelity.

Infidelity

Infidelity can take many forms, there is the classic affair, the emotional affair, one-time unplanned ill-considered events and long-distance/Facebook type affairs as well as many others.  The law allows for consideration of all these types of affairs when dividing a couple's property or awarding alimony.  However, the nature or severity of the behavior, the other person's behavior and whether the behavior was a cause or a symptom of the breakdown of the marriage should also be considered. 

For instance a one-time, ill-considered event might not be considered at all where repetitious affairs or long-term affairs by one party will most certainly be considered..  In addition, the behavior of the aggrieved party will be considered, if that party engaged is similar behavior or other negative behaviors detrimental to the relationship, then that must be weighed as well.  For example, an short emotional affair by one party weighed against years of emotional abuse and threats of physical violence by another party will not be considered as much as a long-term emotional affair that lends to the breakdown of the marriage where the other party has not committed any particular wrong.  Finally, the length of time that has passed since the affair and filing for divorce will also be considered. 

How Much of A Difference Will it Make in My Case?

The fact that the law allows for consideration of fault is one thing, but many times over the length of the marriage there are other actions that mitigate the effect an affair might have on the divorce.  As a rule of thumb when it comes to property division, the courts will generally not grant a division that favors one party more than fifty-nine (59%) and the other party thirty-nine (39%).  The effect of the infidelity on the alimony can be similar but that also depends on several other factors, particularly how much income the party at fault earns compared to the other party.  If you have questions regarding your infidelity or that of your spouse and how it may effect you in a divorce, please do not hesitate to contact Cameron Goulding Family Law and Mediation, PLC. in Rochester to schedule an appointment.


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