Adultery is one of the worst forms of betrayal a spouse could commit in their marriage. Many marriages cannot survive it and it is not uncommon for the two spouses to get a divorce afterward. However, while adultery does have serious impacts on a marriage, many people do not realize that in Michigan, it is also a criminal offense.
The Crime of Adultery in Michigan
While some argue that the law is archaic, adultery is considered a felony in Michigan. Generally speaking, felonies in the state are punishable by at least one year in jail. According to the statute, anyone who commits adultery while they are still married has committed a crime. When an unmarried person commits adultery with a married person, they may or may not have committed a crime, depending on their gender.
A single man who commits adultery with a married woman is technically guilty of a crime in the eyes of the law. On the other hand, an unmarried woman that commits adultery with a married man is not considered guilty under the law.
The differentiation reflects the stereotypical nature of the times when the law was written. It was generally assumed that if a woman had an affair with a married man, it was because they were victims of a man’s predatory sexual nature. It was generally assumed that the man did not tell the unmarried woman that he was married.
While adultery is technically considered a crime in Michigan, it is extremely rare for a person to be prosecuted for it. Still, while a person may not face criminal consequences, being unfaithful can hurt a person during a divorce case.
How Adultery Affects a Divorce Case
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. Even when one spouse has been unfaithful and it results in the end of the marriage, the spouse who files for divorce cannot include accusations of adultery in the complaint. This does not mean, however, that adultery does not play a role in divorce cases.
Adultery may affect certain issues in a divorce case. For example, if the unfaithful spouse spent marital funds on the affair, a judge may award the other spouse more in alimony. Family law judges in Michigan are required to consider adultery when it is appropriate and when making decisions on alimony. If the offending spouse cannot afford alimony, the judge may award the other party more in property division.
Our Michigan Family Lawyers Can Help with Your Case
If you are getting a divorce that involves adultery, our Clinton Township family lawyers can help. At Iafrate & Salassa, P.C., we know how adultery impacts divorce cases and we have the necessary experience to craft an argument that gives you the best chance of a successful outcome. Do not go through your divorce alone. Call us today or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys so we can review your case.