Although Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, that does not mean that having an affair can’t impact your divorce agreement and hurt you financially.
Missouri is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that you don’t have to prove that one spouse did something wrong to ask for a dissolution of marriage or for the court to grant you a divorce. Even if your spouse cheats on you, that doesn’t really matter when you go before the court in relation to having your marriage dissolved. Under Missouri law, two people can get divorced without proving that there is a reason that the marriage can’t be preserved.
However, there may be financial repercussions for having an affair. When you go before the court, it can have an impact on child custody, property division, spousal maintenance, and visitation.
If You Do Choose to use Adultery as Grounds
If you do state the reason for your petition for dissolution of marriage is that one person cheated on another, then it can have an impact on things like visitation rights, who is responsible the attorney’s fees, and other financial arrangements. If you use adultery as grounds, then it won’t make it any harder or easier to have your petition approved, but it can significantly alter how things go for each spouse financially.
To Prove that Your Partner Cheated on You
If you say that your spouse having an extramarital affair is the reason for your seeking a divorce, then you will have to prove that there was adulterous contact between your spouse and someone else. If you choose to use adultery as a cause, then it might draw things out a long time and be highly expensive to prove. Things you can use as proof are credit card statements, eyewitness accounts, and photographs of your spouse with the other person. But unless you have strong evidence, sometimes the small advantage that you gain might end up costing you more in the long run, both financially and emotionally.
What is the Financial Impact?
If you can prove that your partner has had an affair, then you might be able to plead to the court to ask for more financial support than you would be privy to if there were no grounds for a divorce. The judge who grants the divorce might seek to compensate for your emotional distress by giving you more in spousal support or dividing property differently. If you can show that your spouse was unfaithful and your children knew, or that your spouse had the other person around your children, then it is possible for you to gain custody of your children, or limit visitation rights for the well-being of the children involved.
Although Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, that does not mean that having an affair can’t impact your divorce agreement and hurt you financially. As adultery is looked down on by many judges, if you can prove that your spouse has been unfaithful, it might help you to get more than you would otherwise. But make sure that you have evidence and that you are ready to put the time and resources in, both emotionally and financially, to fight longer and maybe not get all that much more. The only way to know for sure if using adultery as grounds in your divorce is a good idea is to consult a St. Louis divorce attorney for advice.
The Betz Law Firm
At The Betz Law Firm, we are committed to guiding our clients through the court process with the same level of professionalism that we would wish for our own family members. We are aware of the trust our clients’ place in us with the future of their family and we strive daily to earn it.
Call us today at (314) 801-8488 or fill out our online case evaluation form to request a free 30-minute phone consultation.