When divorce involves infidelity, it can turn into a contentious affair. Individuals whose spouses cheated on them may believe the court will automatically favor them.
However, Minnesota is a no-fault state, meaning generally that neither party has to prove fault or wrongdoing to obtain a divorce. The court generally does not consider the reasons behind the divorce when making decisions on issues such as property division, child custody or spousal support, but there are certain cases where adultery has an impact on divorce proceedings.
Dissipation of marital assets
One situation where courts do take into account the impact of infidelity is when the cheater squandered marital assets on maintaining the affair. This could involve purchasing expensive gifts for the affair partner, paying for hotel rooms or fuel or taking him or her out on fancy dates, and using marital funds to do so. Courts may factor in the amount spent when calculating spousal support or property division.
Impact on children
Adultery may also matter if the affair hurt any minor children. Judges base child custody decisions on the best interests of the children. If the infidelity harmed them physically or emotionally, directly or indirectly, or caused an unsafe environment, judges may hesitate to place them with the cheating parent.
Gitnux states that around 30-60% of spouses cheat at some point. Infidelity can cause a great deal of pain and conflict that the cheated-on spouse may feel the divorce settlement should reflect. This is generally not the case. However, when the cheater uses assets belonging to both partners to fund his or her illicit activities, judges may factor that in.