Does Adultery Affect the Outcome of My Florida Divorce?
While it can be devastating to discover that your significant other has been unfaithful to you, most family courts no longer view adultery as a punishable offense. In fact, most laws that found adultery to be relevant to divorce and child custody have been done away with. As a result, aggrieved spouses are no longer able to seek additional compensation from the adulterer, and the adulterer’s parental rights are not limited based solely on their indiscretions. Most states have language in their statutes that specify that adultery is not to be considered in divorce proceedings. However, Florida is not most states.
Though Florida’s laws on adultery are not as strict as they once were, they do allow some weight to be given to the fact that one spouse willingly sabotaged the marriage and family unit. As a result, adultery is sometimes taken into consideration in determining financial and custody matters.
How Adultery Affects Alimony
According to Florida Statute 61.08, a Florida family court judge may consider a spouse’s adulterous acts and the circumstances that led up to those acts when determining how much alimony to award the aggrieved spouse. However, the judge cannot use adultery as the main reason for granting the innocent spouse alimony. In deciding whether or not a spouse deserves or needs alimony support, the judge still must take into consideration the following factors:
- How long the marriage lasted;
- The standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage;
- The age, physical condition, and emotional health of each spouse;
- The skills, educational levels, employability, and earning capacities of each spouse;
- The contributions that each spouse made to the marriage, including financial contributions, child rearing, homemaking, and education;
- The post-divorce financial and physical responsibilities of each spouse for the minor children of the marriage;
- The separate property, marital property, and financial resources of each spouse post divorce;
- The income of each spouse;
- The tax liabilities of each spouse, and the tax consequences of alimony on each party; and
- Any other relevant factors.
How Adultery Affects the Distribution of Assets
In accordance with Statute 61.075, Florida uses equitable distribution to divide marital assets amongst both parties. This means that each spouse gets an “equal” amount of assets in a divorce. However, a judge may choose to deviate from an equitable distribution divorce if one or more of the following factors apply:
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, including financial contribution and at-home contributions;
- The length of the marriage;
- Each spouse’s economic circumstances;
- Whether or not either spouse’s career was interrupted as a result of the marriage;
- The contribution of each spouse to marital assets; and
- Other relevant factors.
Outside of the “normal” factors, a judge may also consider whether or not one spouse intentionally wasted or depleted marital assets after filing for divorce or within two years of filing for divorce. The purpose of this provision is to allow the aggrieved spouse to be compensated if the offending spouse’s affair had a negative impact on the family’s economic circumstances. For instance, if the adulterer used significant assets to pay for vacations, a second apartment, hotel rooms, and other luxuries for his or her partner, the court may award the innocent spouse with a greater share of marital assets in order to make up for the wasted marital assets.
Consult a Boca Raton Family Lawyer
Whether you are the adulterer or the innocent party, our family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White can help you achieve a fair outcome to your divorce. Give our Boca Raton law firm a call 561.391.9943 to schedule a consultation today.