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Can Adultery Impact Your Alimony Award in Florida?


From the emotional standpoint, adultery – or engaging in extramarital affairs during a marriage – can have a significant impact on a divorce case. But what about the legal effect of adultery? Will infidelity impact your divorce case or your alimony award in Florida?

Ever since Florida’s family law put an end to fault-based divorces and became a no-fault state, many Floridians may feel as if cheating in the course of their marriage will have absolutely no impact on their divorce case. However, it is not entirely true.

Under certain circumstances, a court may consider either party’s adultery when awarding alimony – also known as spousal support – in the course of divorce proceedings.

Do Florida Courts Consider Adultery When Awarding Alimony?

Typically, alimony awards in Florida are based on the financial status of each spouse. Prior to calculating the appropriate alimony amount and duration, a Florida court will have to determine:

  1. whether any spouse has a need for spousal support; and
  2. whether the other spouse has the ability to make alimony payments.

If the court can establish the lower-earning spouse’s need for alimony, it will review the following factors to determine the amount and duration of spousal support:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Established standard of living during the marriage
  • The dependent and supporting spouse’s age
  • Their earning capacity
  • Each spouse’s emotional and physical wellbeing
  • Their contributions to the marriage and responsibilities to childcare
  • Other factors are also considered in order to calculate the alimony award properly.

Does Adultery Affect Alimony in Florida?

The above-mentioned factors deal with the parties’ ability to support themselves financially after the divorce. However, there are also other, non-financial factors that may be relevant when determining alimony.

Under the Florida Statute Section 61.08, courts can consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances surrounding the extramarital affair when determining the amount of alimony to be awarded.

Thus, telling your Orlando alimony attorney about adultery in your divorce is of paramount importance regardless of whether you are the one who was unfaithful or the spouse who was cheated on. Your lawyer will be able to determine how adultery will impact your alimony award and your divorce case as a whole.

However, instead of punishing the cheating spouse for adultery, courts focus on how the extramarital affair affected the financial status of the parties. For example, if your unfaithful spouse depleted marital funds for vacations, dinners, and other expenses to engage in extramarital affairs, adultery could have an impact on your alimony award.

Proving Adultery in Your Divorce Case

If you want to prove that your spouse’s extramarital affair affected your marital funds, you will have to demonstrate evidence and documentation such as:

  • Hotel receipts
  • Bank records
  • Photos from vacations
  • Purchases of autos or other expensive gifts
  • Sale of marital assets

You may want to use the services of a forensic accountant and an Orlando family attorney to discover hidden transactions related to your spouse’s adultery. Our lawyers at Greater Orlando Family Law may be able to help you find proof of your spouse’s extramarital affair. Speak with our attorneys to discuss how adultery might impact the alimony award in your particular situation. Call at 407-377-6399 for a case review.


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