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Is alienation of affection still a valid cause of action?

Most in Clinton Township likely recognize that a number of different factors may go into your decision to seek a divorce from your spouse. Infidelity is often one of the more common, and if that is present in your case, then that may certainly affect the trust you might have had in them. Yet the concept of no-fault divorce seems to have rendered the reason for a divorce moot, instead allowing couples to cite irreconcilable differences as the reason they want to end their marriage. Yet if your spouse was involved in an adulterous relationship, you may want to assign the blame for your divorce to their lover. 

The legal concept of alienation of affection assigns fault to a party whose actions might be viewed as having interfered with an existing marital relationship. Technically, this principle would allow you to bring legal action against the person with whom your spouse was having an affair, placing the responsibility for ending your marriage squarely on their shoulders (and allowing you to collect damages because of it). There is just one issue: according to the Michigan Legislature, in 1961 the state joined most others in abolishing alienation of affection as a legal cause of action. 

That does not necessarily mean, however, that the fact that your spouse was unfaithful will not come into play in your divorce proceedings. The court will almost certainly consider it when determining your child custody agreement. It may also come into play when deciding whether or not your spouse will have to pay you alimony, as well as when determining how to split your marital assets and liabilities. For example, if your spouse incurred a debt to benefit their lover, they may be assigned sole responsibility for repaying it. 

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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