Hello my name is Jessica Woll and I have been practicing divorce and family law for close to two decades. The job has taught me a great deal about human beings going through what is often one of the worst experiences in their lives. In my blog, I will share my client’s stories, while maintaining their right to privacy. I will offer advice, tips and insights based upon these stories. I hope that you find the information beneficial.
For my fourth posting, I will discuss fault in divorce and if it’s worth pursuing.
Any legally obtained information regarding your spouse’s infidelity may be used in a divorce action. In Michigan fault is a consideration in the division of property and may also be considered in awarding spousal support and attorney fees. Most family court judges realize that a lot of divorcing people have been unfaithful to their spouse before they file for divorce. Therefore, I have found that in order to be awarded more than fifty percent of the marital estate based upon fault, the fault needs to be pretty egregious. Meaning, your spouse has spent significant marital funds on their “extra curricular” activities for example. Even if fault is an issue, a judge may only award you a small percentage more than fifty percent of the marital estate. After you factor in additional attorney fees and heart ache to prove fault it may not be worth it. The decision to pursue a fault claim may cause you and your spouse to hate each other long after the dust settles on your divorce action. If you have children together, you need to think long and hard about this fact.
In the end, it all should come down to cost vs. benefit – and I do not mean just the financial cost. It is a fact that most married people that cheat on their spouse are unhappy in their marriage long before they turn elsewhere for love and affection. Usually, both people are unhappy long before the cheating begins. Cheating is usually a bi-product of a bad marriage and not the cause of it. That is not to say that cheating is okay, it is just to point out that the cheating aspect of your case should not take on a life (and expense) all of its own.