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Will the Minnesota family courts punish your ex for cheating?

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2021 | Divorce |

Divorce proceedings in family court exist to help couples with the difficult task of separating their lives when they end their marriages. However, many people considering a divorce also want to receive justice when they file.

If you discovered that your spouse had an extramarital affair, that betrayal may affect you and your other relationships for years to come. You might want the judge presiding over your Minnesota divorce to give you justice by penalizing your ex for their violation of your marital vows.

Will a Minnesota family law judge punish your spouse for an extramarital affair by reducing how much property they receive in the divorce?

Marital misconduct does not affect property division

Minnesota judges have to consider many matters when deciding how to split a couple’s property and death in a pending divorce case. Everything from how long you stayed married to your health can influence what a judge thinks is fair.

However, Minnesota state law is explicit that a judge may not consider marital misconduct when dividing your property. Your spouse won’t lose out on their share of your home equity just because they cheated on you.

There are typically only two exceptions to this rule. The first is when you have an out-of-court settlement or a prenuptial agreement that includes penalties for infidelity. The second is if your spouse engaged in dissipation of your marital assets while conducting their affair.

When does an affair lead to the dissipation of marital assets?

Your assets and income are marital property until you separate. Neither spouse should use that marital property to damage or undermine the marital relationship.

Money spent on an affair, including fees for hotel rooms, bills for fancy dinners and gifts for the other person involved might all be forms of dissipation of marital assets. If you can prove what your spouse spent on their affair partner, that figure might influence how the judge ultimately divides your property in the divorce.

Most of the time, however, living your best life after the divorce will be the best revenge, as you cannot count on the courts to financially penalize your ex for their misconduct. Understanding the rules that govern a Minnesota divorce can help you approach the process with the right perspective.

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