Can Infidelity Change a Michigan Divorce Settlement?

Can Infidelity Change a Michigan Divorce Settlement?

Can Infidelity Change a Michigan Divorce Settlement?

Posted in Divorce
by Van Den Heuvel Law Office

In a marriage, there is no bigger betrayal than infidelity. Many marriages cannot recover from it and when one spouse has been unfaithful, it often results in divorce. While adultery is always a painful experience to go through, many soon wonder if it will affect their divorce settlement. It is important to know what your rights and obligations are and how they will affect your case.

Filing for Divorce in Michigan

Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. Under this law, anyone that files for divorce must only state that there are irreconcilable differences in the marriage and that there is little chance of reconciliation. During the initial filing, the court will not take fault into consideration. In fact, the spouse that files for divorce cannot even mention adultery in the divorce complaint.

While infidelity is not considered when a spouse initially files for divorce, that does not mean it will not play a part in the divorce proceedings. Infidelity can ultimately affect a divorce settlement.

Alimony in Michigan

Also known as maintenance or spousal support, alimony involves payments made from one spouse to another after divorce. The purpose of alimony is to ensure that both spouses maintain an equal standard of living after divorce, typically the same standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage.

Alimony may be temporary or permanent in Michigan. A judge may also award alimony in different forms. For example, if one spouse is unable to provide financial payments to the other, a judge may award more in property division. When infidelity plays a role in the marriage, alimony often becomes an even bigger issue.

How Does Alimony Affect Divorce in Michigan?

A judge will consider many factors when making decisions on alimony. Although judges cannot consider adultery after the initial filing of the divorce complaint, they are required to take the issue into consideration when making decisions on alimony. The factors a judge will consider include:

  • Prior marital conduct of each spouse,
  • The duration of the marriage,
  • The work skills of each spouse,
  • The age and health of each spouse,
  • The amount of property awarded to each spouse,
  • The standard of living during the marriage and the present needs of each spouse,
  • The contribution each spouse made to the marital estate, and
  • The fault of each spouse that led to the breakdown of the marital relationship

Due to these factors, a judge will consider infidelity when awarding alimony. For example, if one spouse was unfaithful and spent substantial marital funds on the affair, a judge may award more in alimony or may award alimony for a longer period of time.

Our Michigan Family Lawyers Can Help With Your Case

Divorce is a complex legal process, and no one should ever go through it alone. If you are facing divorce, our knowledgeable Grand Rapids family lawyers at Van Den Heuvel Law Office are here to help you through it. We know the factors considered during divorce, can explain how they apply to your case and will help you secure the fair settlement you deserve. Call us today or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.



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