What Impact Does Cheating Have On A Divorce?
If your marriage is in ruins due to infidelity, you are not alone. It’s estimated that infidelity plays a role in as many as 58% of divorces. You may be wondering how adultery will impact your divorce, and whether it will affect things like your divorce settlement, alimony payments, child custody, or even the basis that you file for divorce under. These are all important questions to ask, and our hope is that by better understanding the divorce process and the role that adultery plays, you will feel more confident moving forward. Of course, this information is intended to be general. If you have any questions about your specific situation, it is always best to consult directly with an attorney.
Filing for a Divorce Caused by Adultery
Florida is a no-fault divorce state. While some states give you the option to file on the grounds of adultery, Florida simply allows you to file for divorce without giving a specific reason, even if the reason is adultery. In most cases, this works to your benefit, as if you were to file on the grounds of adultery, you would have to prove it to the satisfaction of the court before you would be allowed to proceed with a divorce. However, that does not mean that infidelity will not be relevant in a number of other ways throughout your divorce proceedings.
The Effect of Adultery on the Divorce Settlement
In Florida, marital assets are divided based on the principles of equitable distribution. This means that the judge has discretion to consider a number of factors related to fairness in determining how to divide assets and debts between the spouses. The judge does have the discretion to consider adultery in doing this. However, if you want adultery to be considered as a factor, you must prove that it occurred in court, which will require direct evidence. If the cheating spouse spent money on their paramour, such as buying them lavish gifts, taking them on vacations, giving them money, or paying their living expenses, without your knowledge, this can also affect how the assets are distributed, and will likely result in a reduction of their share equivalent to the extramarital spending.
Can Adultery Affect Alimony?
In Florida, the judge may consider factors such as adultery when determining whether to award alimony. The primary determinant in awarding alimony is whether one spouse is in need of alimony and whether the other spouse has the ability to pay it. However, if bad faith is shown on the part of the spouse who is in need, and their affair is able to be proven to the satisfaction of the court, the judge may elect not to award it. It’s also possible that a prenuptial agreement would have terms dictating alimony and the marital settlement in the event that one spouse commits adultery.
Contact Greater Orlando Family Law
If you are considering divorce and adultery is a factor, it can really complicate things. It’s important to have an experienced Orlando family attorney on your side. Contact Greater Orlando Family Law today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can support you in getting the best outcome possible in your divorce.