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  6.  | Can you enforce Michigan’s adultery law when you divorce?

Can you enforce Michigan’s adultery law when you divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2022 | Divorce

Finding out that your spouse has cheated on you is one of the most painful betrayals a person can experience. You expected your spouse to uphold their vow to remain faithful, just like you have. Even though infidelity is a reflection of something lacking in the other person, it is hard not to take it personally.

Many people want revenge after learning about an extramarital affair, especially if their spouse wasted money on their affair or endangered their health through obviously unsafe behaviors, like hooking up with multiple strangers. Some people expect the courts to give them justice after marital infidelity.

Although most states don’t have any criminal statutes relating to marital relationships, Michigan does. There is a criminal law against extramarital affairs that can lead to felony charges. Is it possible to enforce the adultery statute in your upcoming divorce?

Police and prosecutors don’t take adultery cases

If you call the police or the local prosecutor’s office to complain about your spouse’s infidelity, they are unlikely to offer you any kind of support, let alone to take action to penalize your spouse. There are dozens of outdated statutes in Michigan that prosecutors rarely or never enforce. The adultery statute is one such law.

The prosecutor will have very little interest in hearing complaints related to an adultery case, and proving infidelity in a court of law could be a challenge even if they did.

What kind of justice can you seek?

If you can’t ask the court to enforce the existing criminal law against marital infidelity, is there any path to justice? For many people hurt when they learn that their spouse cheated on them, it is the freedom that comes after a divorce that is the best outcome for them. They can move on with their lives and pursue happier relationships.

In cases where there where your spouse obviously wasted marital assets conducting their affair, you may be able to make a claim of dissipation that influences the division of your assets and debts. Otherwise, unless you have a prenuptial agreement, infidelity will usually have very little impact on how the courts rule. Learning more about Michigan law and the divorce process will help you seek Justice in the appropriate manner given your circumstance.