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Is infidelity relevant in family law proceedings?

Breakups involving infidelity often involve a great deal of emotion and hostility. This can show itself in many ways, including when it comes time to establish custody and child support agreements. Many Michigan couples facing these disputes may wonder whether infidelity is relevant in family law proceedings related to shared children. 

Often in family law disputes, the ex who is cheated on feels that they are entitled to more compensation because of the circumstances of the breakup. However, the reason for a breakup is not relevant in most Michigan separations and divorces. Like most states, Michigan has no-fault divorce, which means that people cannot be penalized or receive more assets and alimony due to the reasons for the divorce.

This information is also typically irrelevant for determining child support. These amounts are determined based on the income of each parent as well as the number of dependents. However, infidelity may be discussed in certain circumstances. For example, if a man leaves his wife who retains full custody and moves in with a wealthy new girlfriend, this may be considered by a judge. If someone else is paying all expenses and rent for the payor parent, the court can impute income to that individual.

Although Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, the circumstances leading to the end of a marriage can still be relevant if they influence the financial situation of one or both parties. It may also be discussed in custody hearings if the conduct is relevant to one party's fitness as a parent. Speaking with a family law attorney is an important step for anyone wondering whether infidelity is relevant in a particular dispute.

Source:, "Does Cheating Affect Child Support? Here's When The Unfaithful Party May Have To Fork Over More", Jacqueline Burt Cote, April 13, 2018

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Law Offices of Harris & Literski
123 Brighton Lake Road, Suite 205
Brighton, MI 48116

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