Kristin Cavallari & Jay Cutler’s Divorce: What Does ‘Marital Misconduct’ Mean?
Reality star Kristin Cavallari and husband Jay Cutler recently announced their divorce after nearly 10 years together.
In court documents obtained by “Extra,” Jay cited “irreconcilable differences,” while Kristin accused of him of “marital conduct as renders further cohabitation unsafe and improper." He has not responded to the accusation.
Now, experts are explaining what all this means.
Cavallari and Cutler live in Tennessee, which is considered a “fault” state, and L.A.-based family law expert Steve Mindel told People magazine, "In most states, just the fact that you want to get divorced is enough. There's no need to prove fault. But in a few states, fault is still an issue. If you can prove fault, there may be a financial advantage or an advantage with regard to how you co-parent your children."
Another expert, Marlene Eskind Moses, a certified family law trial specialist and manager in Nashville, further explained "inappropriate marital conduct.”
"There are strategic decisions you make with all the filings. We have 15 different grounds for divorce in Tennessee," she said. "Irreconcilable differences is certainly the least aversive and the more amicable one. Marital misconduct is the next least-aversive and they can kick up from there."
Moses clarified that marital misconduct can be “somewhat benign” or “more extensive” depending on the facts and allegations presented.
“It can be anything from verbal abuse to physical harm, extramarital affairs, to financial withholding, to excessive sex, abnormal sex... The term is very expansive. It's pretty much a catch-all,” she said.
Next, Cutler will likely respond to Cavallari's filing. "You can expect to see that next, an answer to the counter claim and that should be within 30 days," Moses noted.
In the divorce docs, Jay asks that both parents be granted joint custodians and decision makers for their three minor children. Kristin asks for primary custody of the children, while Jay would have visitation. She is also asking for child support.
Mindel pointed out that citing “marital misconduct” could have to do with custody. "This may just be the warning signal," he said. "That may be one of the reasons why that's being pled."
The couple announced on Instagram Sunday that they were parting ways "after 10 years together."
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In the post, which features a touching image of the couple, arms around each other as they walk away from the camera, Cavallari writes that they "have come to a loving conclusion to get a divorce. We have nothing but love and respect for one another and are deeply grateful for the years shared, memories made, and the children we are so proud of. This is just the situation of two people growing apart. We ask everyone to respect our privacy as we navigate this difficult time within our family."
The split follows unsubstantiated rumors that Cutler and Cavallari's BFF Kelly Henderson were having an affair. Cavallari has said she did not believe the gossip, but she was upset that her friend "never once" apologized or backed off of mentioning her man on social media.
A source tells People that the split had “absolutely nothing” to do with Henderson.
Cavallari and Cutler became engaged in April 2011 after a year of dating, split up, got back together, and were wed in 2013.
They are the parents of son Camden, 7, son Jaxon, 5, and daughter Saylor, 4.