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How Does Adultery Affect Divorce in Missouri?

Missouri is a no-fault divorce state. That lets you get a divorce if you can prove that your marriage is beyond saving and that you meet Missouri’s residency requirements. A no-fault divorce prevents spouses from blaming each other inside the courtroom about why their marriage failed. Although Missouri is a no-fault state, marital misconduct like adultery may still be an issue.

Using adultery as grounds for divorce

In a no-fault state, plaintiffs do not need to prove that their spouse was unfaithful for the court to grant a divorce. An affirmation and proof that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” is sufficient to get a divorce in Missouri.

If filing for divorce is because your spouse cheated on you, then it can affect the divorce agreement and may have consequences that can hurt financially. It can possibly impact the alimony award, division of assets, and who will pay for the attorney’s fees, child support, and other financial arrangements.

Proving your spouse’s infidelity

An allegation that your spouse was having an extramarital affair needs proof that adulterous contact occurred between your spouse and another person. If you use adultery as grounds, then the divorce process may get drawn out and become more costly to prove. You can use photographs of your spouse with the other person, eyewitness testimony, and credit card statements as proof.

Adultery’s effect on marital finances

If the adultery charge can be pinned on the accused spouse, then the plaintiff can petition the court for more financial support than what would be normally awarded. The judge may compensate the spouse for their emotional distress by doing so, as well as perhaps dividing assets differently.

Adultery is regarded as contemptible by many judges. But the party making the allegation of infidelity must establish that their spouse had indeed been unfaithful during their marriage. If you can prove that your spouse was having an extramarital affair, it can help you gain more financially than you would otherwise.

If the spouse can be proven unfaithful and the children were aware, or if the spouse had the children meet the other person, then there’s a strong possibility the plaintiff will gain custody of their children. Visitation rights will also be limited for the sake of the children involved.

Make certain, however, that you have convincing evidence. Be sure that you are ready to invest time and resources to carry the fight longer, perhaps without expecting to get that much more. The best way to ensure if using adultery as grounds for divorce is the right choice is to have a St. Louis divorce attorney on your side.

Discuss your case with an experienced divorce attorney

It is usually difficult to gather evidence that is both admissible in court and convincing to the judge. Discuss the issue of adultery with a divorce lawyer early in the divorce process to know what evidence of marital misconduct is admissible. What’s more, an experienced attorney will be able to advice you what particular evidence will be persuasive to the judge.

Discuss with your lawyer how infidelity has saddled you with a heavier burden during your marriage. It must first be determined by the court if this bad conduct placed an added burden on the spouse who acted with good intentions. Once this is established, an unequal division of assets can be decided by the court in favor of the aggrieved party.

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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.