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Beware alienating the affections of your spouse

Divorce is always messy. With the ending of your relationship with your spouse and your need to separate your financial affairs as well as your personal affairs, you lose something else. Your privacy. By availing yourself of the state-operated machinery of the Missouri family courts, you have to disclose many intimate details of your relationship.

And that is when it is an amicable divorce. If there are allegations of questions of moral transgressions, it can become unpleasant rapidly. As with political campaigns, once the negativity commences, it can become a race to the bottom.

John Daly is facing a divorce involving the allegation of alienation of affection. This obscure cause of action is made often when a spouse accuses another of having an affair or other marital misconduct with their spouse, and that that conduct "alienated" their spouse.

Only a few states still have this law in their statutes, but you don't have to have been married in them or be divorcing there to invoke them; you simply need to allege that the alienating conduct occurred there.

These types of allegations are more typical in divorces where there are substantial amounts of financial resource available; in more modest divorces, the cost effectiveness of such litigation can be questionable.

Nonetheless, these types of allegations will often increase the bitterness of all parties involved and if you have children who may be subject to a custody order and joint or shared custody, you may wish to consider the affect on the relationship you will have with your former spouse and how ill-will could complicate the next decade of your interactions.

The Washington Post, "John Daly's complicated life: Fiancee wants ex-wife's lawsuit thrown out," Cindy Boren, May 14, 2015

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