A divorce can be a complex and an emotionally charged process, especially when an affair was the cause of the divorce. Depending on the state, a divorce instigated by an affair may go in different directions.
Minnesota is a no-fault state. A no-fault divorce state means neither party needs a reason to get a divorce. Either spouse can cite irreconcilable differences and be granted a divorce.
The no-fault system simplifies the divorce process by removing battles between spouses over fault grounds. Instead, they can focus on the practical aspects of the divorce.
In exceptional cases, the court may consider some of the reasons for the divorce. Here is how an affair can impact divorce in Minnesota.
Spousal maintenance is a financial arrangement awarded to a spouse to provide support after the marriage ends. The maintenance is also known as alimony. In Minnesota, the court determines alimony based on the circumstances of the dissolution.
The court will consider the need for alimony while determining eligibility. The requesting spouse must show the need for financial support and the other spouse’s ability to provide.
Even so, the court will also consider other factors. These include the length of the marriage, incomes, and earning capacities of both spouses.
The court will also decide on the type of alimony, whether temporary or permanent. However, factors such as age and health will guide the court on which type of alimony to grant. The court will award permanent alimony if a spouse is unable to self-sustain.
An affair will generally not impact an award of spousal maintenance. It is possible that one spouse would receive a larger property settlement, or one time payment, if the other spouse dissipated assets by spending a substantial amount of marital income on the affair as discussed below.
Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody is an essential consideration in divorce cases involving children. The court determines child custody in Minnesota in the children’s best interest. The court will focus on children’s well-being, safety, and development.
Minnesota recognizes two types of child custody, legal and physical custody. Legal custody allows a spouse to make key decisions about the child’s upbringing. On the other hand, physical custody refers to which house is considered the child’s home for school and other purposes.
A Minnesota court establishes the child’s best interests by evaluating several factors. These include the child’s needs and the parent’s ability to provide. They will also evaluate the relationship between the parents and children.
There is an insignificant impact of an affair on child custody and visitation. However, if evidence proves the infidelity hurt the child, the court may consider it.
Division of Marital Assets
Marital assets include property, bank accounts, and other assets acquired during the marriage. In Minnesota, the courts follow the principle of fair distribution. This translates to the division of all assets between the spouses in a reasonable manner.
The dissipation of resources plays a significant role in the division of assets. Dissipation is an unreasonable expenditure for non-marital purposes. Often, dissipation occurs without consent from the other spouse.
The burden of proof lies on one spouse to prove that the other engaged in dissipation. A spouse must show that the expenditure occurred within the marriage but for non-marital reasons, such as an affair. Also, they should show that the expenditure reduced the value of their assets.
The Minnesota court considers various factors on whether the dissipation of resources occurred. These include the timing, purpose, and amounts involved in the spending. The court will also factor in the overall impact on their marital estate.
If there is evidence of dissipation from one party, the court will factor it into their ruling. The outcome will often be in favor of the innocent party. The court may rule for a larger share of the assets to go to the innocent spouse.
The larger share will account for the dissipation of assets that occurred during the marriage.
Learn More About the Impact of an Affair in Minnesota
The effect of an affair on divorce settlements in Minnesota will depend on the specific circumstances of each case. Since Minnesota is a no-fault state, the reason for marriage dissolution holds minor to no significance in the divorce process. Even so, parties should contact a family law attorney to discuss divorce, so guidance can be provided. If professional legal advice is needed for a divorce case, contact M. Sue Wilson Law Offices today to schedule a consultation.
This article contains general legal information and does not provide legal advice. For legal advice, please contact M. Sue Wilson Law Offices directly.