fMinnesota is a “no fault” state when it comes to divorce. This means that neither party needs a specific reason to ask the Court for a divorce, other than simply to state there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This also means that, with some exceptions, wrongful conduct of one spouse is typically not considered when analyzing the issues in a divorce in Minnesota. An affair is an example of wrongful conduct that will typically not be considered when analyzing the issues in a divorce proceeding. Below are a few examples of how an affair may impact a divorce in Minnesota, despite Minnesota being a no fault state.
The first example of how an affair may impact a divorce in Minnesota is if the cheating spouse spends significant marital funds on the affair. Some examples of this spending are extravagant travel/vacations, expensive gifts, etc. This type of spending may be used to show that the marital estate was dissipated by the cheating spouse in order for the other spouse to receive a higher share of the property division. Importantly, there must be sufficient documentation and typically the spending in comparison with the marital estate must be significant.
Another example of how an affair may impact a divorce in Minnesota is if the cheating spouse moves in with his/her significant other after separating from his/her spouse. This is called cohabitation and can impact a spouse’s ability to request spousal maintenance, or, if the cheating spouse is the higher income earner, cohabitation may be considered when analyzing his/her ability to pay spousal maintenance.
Finally, an affair may impact certain custody and parenting time-related issues in a divorce in Minnesota if the cheating spouse intends to stay with his/her new significant other post-divorce. As this person may be around the children, if he/she has a criminal background or any other concerning qualities such as chemical use/abuse or a history of domestic violence, those facts about this individual are very relevant to a custody/parenting time determination.
This is not an exhaustive list of how an affair may impact a divorce in Minnesota. If you have any questions about how an affair may impact your Minnesota divorce proceeding, please contact Clausen & Hassan, LLC at (651) 647-0087 to speak with one of our attorneys about your specific situation.