According to the state laws, adultery in Michigan is considered a felony. Thus, any married person engaging in extramarital relationships commits a crime and can be punished. However, while the answer to the question “Is adultery illegal in Michigan?” is still affirmative, nobody has been prosecuted for it for decades. Anyway, such wrongdoing frequently becomes the main reason for marriage termination. Besides, it can impact alimony, child support, and property division during the divorce process.
Adultery Laws in Michigan
Section 552.6 of the Michigan Compiled Law outlines the grounds for divorce in Michigan, including the fact that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Although adultery is not listed as an official ground for divorce, it still can influence the judge’s decision in the divorce case. In section 750.29 , adultery is defined as a misdemeanor offense, although it is not often enforced in this manner.
Based on the state law, adultery is a sexual relationship between two people, either of which is married to a third person. And even a single person having an affair with a married one can be punished for adultery. However, the law is slightly outdated and one-sided. For example, if a married woman has a side relationship with a single man, they both should be punished for committing a crime. But, if a married man engages in an affair with a single woman, he is the only one to be accused of infidelity.
How Does Michigan Adultery Law Impact Divorce?
In the past, if one of the spouses wanted to get divorced because of adultery, it was necessary to prove that such misconduct took place and caused irreparable damage to a marriage. This practice is still valid in some US states but not in Michigan. Since it is a no-fault divorce state, you can file for marriage dissolution without naming any grounds for this decision. Stating that marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no possibility of reconciliation will be enough.
However, you can still notify the court about the partner’s infidelity. This issue will be considered when negotiating child support, the division of financial assets, real estate, and vehicles. Thus, speaking of the legal consequences of adultery, this misconduct may impact the final judgment. A judge may decide in favor of a betrayed partner to compensate for the emotional distress they had to overcome due to adultery.
Can Adultery Affect Alimony Award in Michigan?
The Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) address adultery in the context of divorce and spousal support. Section MCL 552.13 discusses the factors that a court may consider when awarding spousal support, including “the past relations and conduct of the parties.” Adultery can be considered as part of this analysis.
The main idea behind determining alimony is to provide both ex-spouses with the possibility of having a relatively equal standard of living. Alimony may have different forms depending on the case. Besides, maintenance support can be temporary or permanent.
The fact of adultery can impact the alimony decision. For example, if an unfaithful spouse spent marital money purchasing presents for a lover, the judge may take this fact into account and decide on a bigger alimony for the other spouse. Or, if the offending spouse lacks the money to cover the defined maintenance, the judge may give the innocent spouse a bigger part of the property.
Sometimes, a hurt spouse uses alimony as a chance to take revenge on an adulterer. However, such alimony Michigan cheating attempts will cause even more problems in the long run. In addition to increased emotional pain due to constant disputes, a betrayed partner runs a high risk of losing alimony.
Does Infidelity Affect Child Support and Custody in Divorce?
Adultery isn’t the major factor impacting child support and custody during a marriage dissolution. In this regard, the court usually considers such things as:
- Income of each parent
- Frequency of overnight visits of each parent
- Medical and daycare expenses
Like in other US states, the court in Michigan concentrates on a child’s best interests and resolves a dispute between parents based on them. If one of the parents has an extramarital relationship, it mainly refers to the problems of the married couple rather than confirms that this person can’t be a loving and responsible parent.
However, if the judge presumes that a parent’s adultery can take a toll on a child’s well-being, e.g., a parent may become abusive or totally neglects a kid because of an affair, such behavior can have an influence on the court’s decision.
How to Prove Adultery in Divorce?
Adultery charges must be backed up by reliable evidence for the judge to consider them. It is necessary to present direct proof such as eyewitness testimony or the infidelity admission of the parties involved (the spouse and/or the lover).
Circumstantial evidence, the information that strongly suggests that a fact is true, but does not prove it directly, can also be examined in court. This can be:
- Photos featuring lovers
- Messages where their relationships are discussed
- GPS evidence confirming their regular meetings
However, the court has strict rules concerning the proofs of infidelity that can be used in marriage dissolution. For instance, if a person retrieves images from the partner’s phone without permission, deceives them to get an adultery confession, acquires testimony through threats, or hacks into gadgets, the court will dismiss such evidence.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Michigan a no-fault state for adultery?
Yes, it is. Though adultery may cause an irretrievable marriage breakdown, it cannot be mentioned as an official ground for divorce. However, when it comes to dividing property and determining alimony, it may be reasonable to mention the misconduct of a spouse, especially if the affair had a direct impact on the financial state of a family, the child’s well-being, and psychological conditions of an offended partner.
Can you go to jail for cheating on your spouse in Michigan?
According to the Michigan Compiled Laws, one can be legally punished with a jail term if they have a side relationship while still being officially married. However, in practice, nobody has been imprisoned for adultery for many years in this state.
What is the punishment for adultery in Michigan?
In Section 750.30, it is written that any person who commits adultery is guilty of a felony. Theoretically, there may be a punishment in the form of a fine or a jail term. In real-life practice, though, it is unlikely that one will be persecuted for infidelity.
Erik Smith is a well-known divorce specialist and writer at midivorcepapers.com with a background in marriage counseling and therapy. Having worked with countless couples, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his writing.