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Does Adultery Have an Effect on Divorces in Missouri?

If your marriage is no longer a union you want to be a part of due to your spouse being unfaithful or committing adultery, it is likely that you are now curious as to how your partner cheating in your marriage will affect the divorce process you are considering starting, or currently going through. The Higher Level Legal Law Firm is here to help answer those questions.

For the Record, Missouri is a "No-Fault" Divorce State.

 MO Rev Stat § 452.305 (2013)

This means that that for a divorce or dissolution process to be successful, "fault" in the traditional sense does not need to be proven, unlike many other states. The common examples of fault are abuse from one spouse against the other spouse within the marriage (mental or physical), abandoning or deserting a spouse, a spouse abusing illegal substances, or arguably the most commonly used example of fault in a marriage, infidelity or adultery.

While these may be reasons for you pursuing a divorce from your spouse, they do not need to be proven to obtain a divorce. All that needs to be established for a spouse to file for divorce in Missouri is irreconcilable differences and/or an irretrievable breakdown in the marital union.

All people are different, as well as all relationships and marriages, so some of us are able to work through a partner being unfaithful, others on the other hand are not. Therefore, if a spouse has committed adultery, and the spouse who was cheated on is unable to look past that, and they want to file for divorce they absolutely can because this particular scenario would fall under the category of an irretrievable breakdown.

With that being said, even though it is not necessary to prove adultery has occurred in a marriage to get a divorce in Missouri, proving that adultery did happen can have an impact on how the proceedings are settled. Adultery being proven has been shown to have an effect on how a judge decides to separate assets, custody agreements, and the amount of alimony granted or not granted to either of the parties.

If either spouse cheated on one another, (committed adultery), during the union, or even if both spouses were unfaithful at some point during their marriage; these are things that the judge will more than likely want to be made aware of. Although, these acts of adultery along with any other issues in the marriage are things that the court will be tasked with balancing out appropriately in regards to the divorce case, and what decisions are officially decreed.

An example of this being quite relevant in a case would be if a husband/or wife who was cheating on their spouse, decided to then clean out their joint bank account, so they were able to take their new partner on a fun excursion, or buy a brand new luxury car. The judge will hear this or see evidence of this occurrence and likely will view this as a much more serious situation, opposed to a one-night stand where one spouse had a one-time lapse in judgment, that resulted in trust being broken due to jealously and hurt feelings. This is not to say that jealousy and hurt feelings are not serious issues in a marriage, but in the eyes of the court if there has been an impact on a party's finances due to an adulterous encounter those situations are viewed as more serious.

Essentially, some scenarios have certain variables that can happen in affairs that cause the court to view them as more serious. This means there is a higher possibility of judges ruling on smaller sums of alimony to be granted or in some cases no alimony awarded at all, or other aspects within the case, such as division of assets. This is an anecdotal example, and each case and each judge is different, but these situations are certainly possible, and all is dependent on the judge, your representation, and the facts of your specific case.

If your partner has had an affair in your marriage, and you are not able to work past this, we understand completely and are empathetic to what you are going through emotionally. The attorneys at the Higher Level Legal Law Firm want to help you through this challenging time in your life. Our team is well versed in dissolution proceedings and prides ourselves on fighting zealously and successfully for our client's rights, and ensuring they receive the justice the law entitles them to.

Reach out to our offices today, and one of our staff members will complete your intake, and get you scheduled for a consultation with one of The Higher Level Legal Law Firm's attorneys today.

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If you need assistance or have questions, please call us at (816) 331-9968 to schedule a consultation. We are here to help you through this process.