How Can My Spouse’s Dishonesty Affect My Divorce in Minnesota?

by Amanda Maenner on October 25, 2010

There are many reasons why spouses decide to go their separate ways, but it is far from uncommon that one of the reasons is often dishonesty of one of the spouses.  The most common ways dishonesty makes its way into a divorce discussion is in the form of lying about finances or having an extramarital affair.

In terms of divorce, Minnesota is a no-fault state.  This means that the court is not going to take into account the wrongdoing of either party when determining custody or the division of property.

When determining custody, the court looks at the best interests of the children.  Personal wrongdoing of a party will only affect the custody determination if it affected the children in any way directly.  If a spouse has been having an affair, but the children do not know about it nor do they know the other party, for example, it will not affect the custody determination.  However, if the parent was supposed to be watching the children but was negligent in their care while carrying on an affair, that would play a role in the custody determination.

Financial dishonesty may be considered by the court in the property division.  The general rule of the court for dividing property is that it is fair and equitable for the parties.  If one party had a gambling problem, for example, and spent a large portion of the marital estate without the knowledge of the other party, that may be taken into account.  Generally, however, both spouses know where money is being spent.  If a spouse finds out that the other was wasting the assets but forgives them, continuing in the relationship, the argument that the spouse who wasted assets should be somehow punished for it is not going to carry as much weight in the eyes of the court.

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