Infidelity is often a main cause for why a married couple decides to divorce.
Whether it can affect it and how it can affect your divorce can be complicated. Generally speaking, parties can obtain what is called a "no-fault divorce" in the State of Missouri.
Divorce In Missouri | Divorce Knowledgebase
This means that neither party has to prove any kind of fault or wrong on the part of the other spouse in order to achieve the desired termination of the marriage. Both spouses are required to agree that the marriage is "irretrievably broken.
Despite the modern concept of "no-fault divorce," a cheating spouse can affect a divorce proceeding in certain ways. In the case of a spouse who will not agree to the proposition that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the spouse seeking divorce can prove that the other spouse committed adultery and that it is intolerable to live with the cheating spouse. To prove infidelity you can file evidence such as:.
- Divorce in Missouri.
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- The Missouri Divorce Process;
- My Spouse Cheated On Me – Will the Judge Care? | STL Divorce Attorney.
If the court finds that it would be intolerable for you to live with the cheating spouse, the divorce can be granted over his or her objections. Missouri distributes marital assets equitably between the parties to the marriage.
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However, equitable does not always mean equal, or It is a system based on fairness. One of the factors a court can consider is the spouses' behavior in relation to spending during the marriage. Therefore, while a court may not change the asset allocation for punishment purposes alone, it can consider any money spent on the affair during the course of the marriage. Use of marital assets to further an affair can affect the ultimate distribution of marital assets.
The conduct of the parents can have a significant affect on child custody determinations.
This is especially true if the conduct of the unfaithful spouse was known to the children of the marriage. The judge can take that conduct and its effects on the children's best interest into account when making the custody arrangements. The effects of infidelity on a divorce are varied but can have an important impact on your life and your finances.
With the help of experienced Cass County attorney Joshua Wilson you can go into the divorce process with knowledge and confidence.
Part I. Frequently divorce attorneys have clients who feel wounded by their spouses because of marital infidelity. When a spouse has an extramarital affair, and it ultimately comes to light, the loyal spouse feels a deep sense of betrayal and a complete loss of trust, wondering how many more betrayals of the marriage, not just in terms of a sexual affair, took place.
Impact of Infidelity on Your Divorce
The easy and rather logical leap is for the loyal spouse to assume that if a cheating spouse has one secret, he or she could have more — hidden bank accounts, shady business deals, or worse. Infidelity often leads to the end of a marriage. Given the obvious pain to the loyal spouse and the children, can a family court penalize the cheating spouse in any way? As you might expect, infidelity qualified as one of those bad acts. The older statutes would specifically allow a court to punish the bad actor in terms of the distribution of property or in the amount of spousal support.
Further, Missouri used to have a tort — a civil action — known as alienation of affections, which would allow a loyal spouse to sue the mistress for damages for breaking up a marriage.
Divorce In Missouri
However, Missouri — like nearly every other state — has since abandoned that cause of action. Since the beginning of the no fault era, Missouri allows people to seek a divorce without proving a bad act. But that does not mean that bad acts go unpunished. With regard to the distribution of marital assets, courts are directed to make an equitable distribution, which means starting from an equal sharing of the assets.
However, if a party proves marital misconduct — such as an extramarital affair — that included using marital assets to further that affair paying for a hotel room, a trip or a gift the court would have a basis for making an unequal distribution of property.
Is Missouri a “no fault” state? Can infidelity (or other misconduct) affect my case?
Simply proving the existence of the affair will not suffice; the loyal spouse must establish real and significant harm caused by the affair to justify an unequal distribution, usually squandering marital funds or causing the loyal spouse such distress he or she needed medical attention. In Missouri, a court may punish a cheating spouse in terms of the amount of maintenance paid to the loyal spouse.
While principally maintenance is used to help the spouse who earns significantly less to meet his or her reasonable needs, including the lifestyle during the marriage, the maintenance statute