Divorce challenges people emotionally, financially, spiritually and logistically. Separating from someone you once loved (and possibly still do) is never simple. However, some situations are irreducibly more complex than others. An amicable split between two consenting partners, for instance, will generally be easier to negotiate than a divorce involving allegations of infidelity; or a situation in which there’s such fundamental mistrust that alternative dispute resolution solutions — such as mediation or collaborative — are not even on the table.
Did infidelity (or possible infidelity) play a role in the break down of your relationship? If so, how might this “love triangle” impact your options and potential solutions? Let’s review a few key ideas:
- Minnesota is a No-Fault Divorce State…
In order to get a divorce in Minnesota, you do not need to prove that your spouse did something wrong. (By contrast, in other “fault based” states, the reason for the split — such as alcoholism, infidelity or abandoning the relationship — can influence the court’s decision to grant the divorce.)
- …However, the Extramarital Affair Can Influence the Court’s Actions
- Perhaps the affair distracted your spouse from his parenting responsibilities. He recklessly left your 12 year old and 10 year old alone by themselves for the weekend while sneaking out with his partner to a bed and breakfast. Or maybe the other woman (or man) did drugs or engaged in unsafe behavior around your children. The court could take this behavior into account when assigning custody — especially if a dangerous pattern was established.
- Per state law, judges in general will not consider the affair or other types of misconduct in the marriage when dividing property. However, the court could consider the infidelity if, for instance, a spouse incurred credit card debt or spent joint assets pursuing an affair.
- Get Counseling and Support to Chart the Course Ahead
Divorces involving an intimate third party can be emotionally difficult to endure. Get the support you need. Depending on the nature and duration or the affair — as well as how it was revealed — you may need time to process what happened. You don’t have to do this work on your own. Find a qualified therapist, and retain an experienced Minnesota family law attorney to handle the legal side of things.
Facing the challenge of divorce? Our experienced and compassionate Minnesota family law attorneys can help. Call us for a consultation at 763-323-6555.