How Does Adultery Affect Alimony/Spousal Maintenance in Minnesota?


Proceeding with a divorce that was caused by adultery can be one of the most stressful times of your life. Not only do you have to mourn the end of your relationship and are forced to think about the reasons why it ended, but you have to protect your assets. Among the many considerations that need to be acknowledged during your divorce is the very real possibility that you may need to pay your spouse alimony, even if they cheated on you.

When determining the appropriateness of an award of spousal maintenance, the Court will consider numerous factors including but not limited to the following:

  • Whether the spouse seeking to receive alimony lacks property, including property awarded during the divorce, and has the reasonable need to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
  • Whether the spouse seeking alimony is unable to financially support themselves due to lack of current employment or holds custody of a child whose condition makes it so they have to stay at home to care for the child’s needs.
  • Whether the spouse whom alimony is sought from has the ability to pay alimony to the other spouse.

The unfortunate truth is that adultery has no effect on whether alimony is awarded or the amount that is given. The purpose of alimony is to financially support a spouse in need, not to monetarily punish either side. Marital misconduct, which includes adultery, is not considered by the judge when making the alimony awards or decisions. This is why so many divorces as a result of adultery are filled with so much animosity, not just because of the cheating, but because one side may very well be paying a party who engaged in marital misconduct.

However, there are other factors that can affect how much alimony you will need to pay your ex-spouse. When deciding how much to pay out, judges will often consider:

  • The financial resources of the receiving spouse, including assets that were awarded during the divorce and how it affects their ability to live independently.
  • The time the receiving spouse would require to obtain enough education to seek appropriate employment. This is also judged on a spouses age and pre-existing skills.
  • The standard of living established by both parties during the marriage.
  • The length of the marriage. This is particularly important if one party was a homemaker and has been out of the workforce for an extended period of time, leaving them with limited employment options.
  • The age of the receiving spouse as well as their physical and emotional condition.
  • The ability of the paying spouse to support the receiving spouse while also supporting themselves.

Again, you will notice that none of the above have anything to do with considerations towards adultery or marital misconduct. In truth, the courts don’t often care why a marriage ended, but rather that both people will go on living afterwards.  If your unfaithful spouse cannot support themselves and you have the ability to pay alimony, you may have to support them through these payments.

The best thing you can do is to make sure that your rights are represented to the fullest is to contact an attorney. If you are starting divorce filings in the Burnville/Eagan area, contact us today. The attorneys at Gilbert Alden PLLC are experienced divorce attorneys that can make sure your rights and financially well-being are protected.

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