Will Adultery Matter in Your Divorce Case in Florida?
Infidelity is responsible for up to 40% of divorces in the United States, according to a study by the American Psychological Association. If you are one of those whose marriage is headed for divorce because of your partner’s unfaithfulness, you may wonder how adultery may affect your divorce case in Florida.
Since Florida is a no-fault divorce state, you do not need to prove adultery or other forms of marital misconduct in order to obtain a divorce. However, that does not necessarily mean that cheating during a marriage will have no impact on your divorce proceedings.
In fact, adultery can play a role when determining alimony, division of assets and debts, and even child custody. It is advised to consult with an Orlando divorce attorney to review your particular situation and determine whether infidelity will matter in your divorce case.
The Effect of Adultery on Alimony in Florida
According to the Florida Statutes Section 61.08, an award of alimony is based on the lower-earning spouse’s need for spousal support and the other spouse’s ability to fulfill this need. After determining the need for alimony and the ability to pay spousal support, the court will consider a variety of other factors. One of them is adultery.
The statute specifically states that the court “may consider the adultery” of either partner in determining the amount of alimony to be awarded. However, as evident from past divorce cases in Florida, the court will only consider infidelity if a partner’s extramarital affair involved the wasteful dissipation of marital assets.
In other words, the spouse who was cheated on is required to prove that their partner used marital funds to pay for gifts, vacations, or otherwise support their affair.
The Effect of Adultery on Property Distribution
The infidelity of either spouse may also affect the equitable distribution process. Since Florida courts have the discretion to determine a fair and equitable division of assets and debts, they can consider a multitude of factors, including adultery and other forms of marital misconduct.
As in the case of determining an award of alimony, either spouse’s dissipation of marital assets to support their extramarital affair can affect the distribution of assets and debts.
The Effect of Adultery on Child Custody
If you and your spouse have minor children, the court may consider adultery when determining custody. While Florida’s family law does not expressly list “adultery” as one of the factors that affect the determination of the child’s best interests, engaging in an extramarital affair can impact the evaluation of the unfaithful parent’s moral and parental fitness.
In most divorces involving adultery, the infidelity of a parent is only taken into account by the court when the other parent can prove that the extramarital affair was detrimental to the child. For example, if it can be proven that a parent spent marital funds on their extramarital relationship and neglected their child’s needs, the court is likely to award more custody rights to the parent who was cheated on.
Do not hesitate to discuss your particular case if your partner was unfaithful during your marriage. Our Orlando divorce attorney at Greater Orlando Family Law may be able to help you obtain a more favorable divorce decree if we can prove that adultery played a significant role in the downfall of your marriage. Call at 407-377-6399 to get a free consultation.