Will the Courts Punish My Spouse for Cheating On Me?

March 10, 2014  |  Elizabeth A. Schading

It’s natural to be angry when your spouse cheats on you. But the courts are not going to reach out to “punish” your spouse for it, even if the adulterous behavior is one of the reasons why the marriage fell apart.
Minnesota is a “no fault” state. That means that the courts essentially do not care why the marriage is ending. It is assumed to be nobody’s fault and everyone’s fault—a sort of “it takes two to tango” philosophy.

Family Law

Cheating may only affect the divorce if the spouse spent a great deal of your marital assets pursuing the relationship. You would have to prove this.
For the most part, however, the major issues of the divorce will be decided in exactly the same manner that they would have been decided had the spouse been faithful.
The courts treat a marriage primarily as a business partnership. Your marriage is almost like a company that grows and generates assets. This is a special partnership because children are often involved, but from the court’s perspective you are still dissolving a contract.
The court’s main concern is to get that contract dissolved with as little damage to both parties as possible and as little damage to the children as possible. That means it’s simply going to follow the guidelines for equitable distribution of property as closely as possible.
Trying to drag your spouse’s cheating behavior into the court only wastes time. Ultimately it may even weaken your own position, as you will be seen as a person who is “out for revenge” instead of as a reasonable adult who is trying to manage a difficult situation. While you should document all expenditures that you know about you should not get overly fixated on the behavior that ended the marriage.
At this point, the marriage is over, and you need to focus on securing your future instead. That means putting your best foot forward in the courtroom and working with an experienced family law attorney to resolve the major issues of the divorce in a manner that supports your desire to build a new life after the court case is complete.
If you are pursuing a divorce, call BGS. We have over 75 years of experience working with Minnesota family courts, and we’re ready to help guide you to the best possible outcome for your divorce.