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Massachusetts no-fault divorces not guaranteed alimony

It may be hard to believe, but adultery is still considered to be illegal in Massachusetts. But good luck attempting prosecution; it has been many a year since a conviction was pursued on those charges. While adultery may be a leading cause of divorce and can create feelings of anger, rage and betrayal in the cheated-upon spouse, the no-fault Massachusetts divorce laws no longer guarantee alimony in a divorce settlement.

According to a recent Gallup poll, the majority of Americans still view adultery as a behavior more vile than abortion, pornography, gambling, capital punishment and polygamy. Of those adults surveyed, 91 percent listed adultery at the head of the list of morally reprehensible behaviors. Polls also indicate that more Americans no longer condemn divorce, indicating that the betrayal inherent in adultery is the moral line in the sand. Female adultery rates are rising as well; a poll by the National Opinion Research Center indicates a steady upsurge in adultery by women in the two decades since the survey was conducted.

Under current laws, a typical divorce involving accusations of marital infidelity may be used as a tactic to hasten the dissolution of the marriage or as an attempt to gain moral high ground while haggling over settlement issues. The days of the cheating spouse's partner being sued for alienation of affection are long gone, and even issues of custody are not usually decided upon an errant spouse's infidelity. For that to occur, harm to the children of the marriage must be proven as a result of their parent's indiscretions.

If you suspect your spouse is cheating on you, it is important to make rational and pragmatic decisions. When your emotions are in overdrive, doing so can be nearly impossible. Discussing your concerns with an experienced family law attorney can help you make decisions that reflect your best interests and those of your children, protect your valuable assets and affect custody and visitation arrangements of minor children.

Source: bostonglobe.com, "The state of extramarital affairs" Melissa Shorr, Nov. 17, 2013

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