At the Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC, we’re often asked if misconduct/having an affair is grounds for divorce or if it even really matters in division of property or alimony/spousal maintenance allocations. In this article, we’ll go over a few examples of some common misconduct situations (affairs, physical/emotional abuse, and hiding money) as well as how the court views these types of misconduct in the states of Kansas and Missouri.
Examples of Misconduct
An affair is when one spouse has a physical relationship with someone other than their spouse. The effects infidelity can have on a marriage can be significant and can hurt everyone in the family including children (if they find out), relatives, and even friends. While it can be a very hard thing to deal within a divorce, extramarital affairs are surprisingly common.
Before we get into how physical/emotional abuse affects divorce, we want to mention the severity of physical/emotional abuse and how important it is to seek help if you are being physically or emotionally abused. There are many resources for victims of domestic abuse from hotlines to shelters that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Abuse in a marriage or any relationship doesn’t just mean physical abuse; abuse can be caused by emotional trauma too. Below are examples of emotional abuse:
- They are always putting you down
- They’re controlling
- They demand that you meet certain needs and get upset if/when you don’t
- They criticize you
Unfortunately, physical and emotional abuse does exist in marriages across the globe, not just here in the states of Kansas and Missouri. Understandably, abuse can have very negative impacts on individuals involved and can affect not only the marriage but all future relationships for the spouse being abused.
Economic misconduct occurs when one spouse is deceitful to the other and either hides money from their spouse, destroys property, gambles excessive amounts of money away, and so on. Economic misconduct can have a major impact and can have a stressful toll on the individual who discovers that their spouse has lost large amounts of money. Furthermore, economic misconduct can have lasting effects on the spouse who was betrayed.
Does Misconduct in a Divorce Case Matter in the state of Kansas?
Kansas is one of many hybrid states when it comes to misconduct which is when a state recognizes both no-fault and fault-based “grounds”. In layman’s terms, no-fault is when no particular wrongdoing is found by either spouse in a divorce case whereas fault-based grounds is when one spouse alleges that the marriage ended because of wrongdoing by the other spouse.
Getting granted a no-fault divorce in Kansas is when a judge finds that both parties are no longer compatible and that it’s in the best interest of both parties to divorce rather than continue their marriage. Therefore, dirty laundry like an affair doesn’t need to be aired in front of a judge for them to grant a divorce.
The state of Kansas does allow fault-based divorce filings, but they must be accompanied with solid proof and are often harder to obtain than they’re worth.
Therefore, if misconduct is pled, misconduct could impact property division depending on the extent of the misconduct (e.g., if a spouse spends significant funds on their new significant other).
Does Misconduct in a Divorce Case Matter in the state of Missouri?
Missouri is a modified no-fault state. Missouri courts will grant a divorce if the court finds that the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be preserved, without having to prove someone was deceitful or committed another act of misconduct. However, misconduct can have an impact on alimony/spousal maintenance and property division.
Depending on the judge and the type of proof you have that your spouse has been deceitful, hidden money, is or has been abusive, they may divide assets and configure alimony/spousal maintenance differently than if a spouse was not shown or proven to be guilty of misconduct.
If you have a family law matter you’d like to discuss with a divorce attorney in Jackson County or a divorce attorney in Kansas, please request a consultation online or call (816) 246-9981. We provide virtually all services that pertain to family law like the dissolution of marriage, paternity and child custody, child support, and so much more. We look forward to discussing your family law matter and helping you as best we can.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.