Getting a divorce is never easy, but it can be particularly difficult if one party believes the other is at fault for the failure of the marriage. Whether this fault stems from infidelity or abandonment, the emotional turmoil tied to this situation can make it difficult to step back and go through the divorce logically. Having a basic understanding of the process and any impact fault may play can help.
Does fault impact the divorce?
Generally, the answer is no. Minnesota is a no-fault state. This means that fault is usually not taken into consideration during the divorce proceeding.
Of course, like most areas of law, there are some grey areas.
Are there any exceptions?
There are some situations where fault may be an issue, but it is generally a secondary issue. One example involves the property distribution determination portion of the divorce proceeding. Minnesota uses a system that considers both spouses financial partners in the marriage. As such, both partners are entitled to a fair, though possibly not equal, portion of the assets. Fault may be taken into consideration during this process if one spouse used marital funds to pay for lavish vacations or gifts during an affair, or accumulated a large amount of debt for these costs. The final settlement could potentially be adjusted to reflect that the faulty party is solely responsible for these costs.
Another potential example occurs when an affair or abandonment has negatively impacted a spouse's ability to parent. In these instances, the applicable evidence may be taken into consideration during the custody determination.
Navigating these issues can be difficult. As a result, it is wise for those who are going through a divorce to contact a divorce attorney. This legal professional will advocate for your rights, working to better ensure a more favorable outcome.