Adultery in Minnesota

Adultery in Minnesota, Family Law

Adultery in Minnesota and Criminal Law

Adultery in Minnesota is a crime, “When a married woman has sexual intercourse with a man other than her husband, whether married or not, both are guilty of adultery and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.” – Minn. Stat. 609.36.

A few items of note.  First, only the non-offending spouse can initiate this action.  Also, the complaint needs to be made within one year of the alleged offense.  Lastly, this “offense” is very rarely prosecuted in practice.

Adultery in Minnesota and Divorce

Adultery, aka “infidelity”, “cheating” or “having an affair”, has almost no impact on divorce proceedings, which are civil matters. Minnesota is a “no fault” divorce state.  In other words, a spouse doesn’t have to do something wrong for the other to request and get a divorce.  This includes adultery.  Additionally, the spouse committing adultery can request a divorce without issue.

In addition, Minnesota law specifically forbids the court to consider such behavior when deciding property and spousal maintenance issues.

This creates a difficult situation.  Obviously adultery can be painful to the other spouse.  However, the law does not offer a remedy for it in divorce proceedings.  Instead, a spouse may bet better off to pursue counseling or some form of therapy.

Adultery may impact a divorce in one particular situation: when child custody is at issue.  If one spouse gets involved with another person while the divorce is ongoing, it’s important that the spouse recognizes and behaves in a way that allows the children to adjust to this.  Disregarding this can impact a judge’s decision in a child custody ruling.

If you have more questions, please review the links to the left, head back to the MN Family Law Attorney home, or visit Majeski Law.  If you’re interested in retaining an attorney, please feel free to email or call using the links in the upper right.