Michigan Divorce FAQ: Spouse Violated Vows

Since Michigan enacted “no-fault” divorce laws, the parties need not show that the conduct of the one spouse caused a breakdown in the marriage in order to obtain a divorce. However, the court may look to the behavior of the parties in determining property division, spousal support, and child custody, but again, it is only one of many other factors. For example, while Michigan courts generally favor an equitable distribution of assets, an extramarital relationship may be, although highly unlikely, the basis for awarding one spouse a greater share of the marital estate. It is extremely difficult for a lawyer to prove at trial that an extramarital relationship was the one and only cause of the breakdown in the marital relationship. The lawyer on the other side is prepared to find numerous reasons that the other spouse who did not have an affair was instrumental in the cause of the breakdown in the marriage. And again, this behavior or fault issue is but only one factor of which the court may/might consider. Further, the cost of going to trial to prove this as a fact is probably much higher than the value of the mere possibility of getting a greater share of the marital estate. Not to mention the airing of dirty emotional laundry in a public forum!

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