Does Adultery Affects Divorce in Florida?
Your spouse has been cheating on you and you want to file for divorce. It’s a common scenario and many people want to know how adultery will affect their divorce in Florida. Because Florida is a “no-fault” state, it means any person can petition the court for a divorce without any specific cause. The ability to file a “no-fault” divorce means the court doesn’t have to render a decision on who is at fault, and it keeps private issues private rather than having to share them in open court.
However, although Florida is a “no-fault” state, the allegation of adultery can impact some aspects of a divorce, including custody, alimony, and asset distribution. It can be a complicated process, which is why retaining the right Florida divorce attorney can make all the difference.
Florida’s family law statute allows for courts to consider circumstances like adultery when deciding how much alimony to award. There are multiple other factors that go into deciding on a figure for alimony first though. These include:
- Length of the marriage
- Sources of income and contributions each spouse made during the marriage
- Age and health of both spouses (including mental health and emotional well-being)
- The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
- Financial resources of each spouse
- What is separate and marital property
- Potential for employability and earning capacity, combined with educational level and skill set
- Minor children and potential financial responsibilities after the divorce
- Potential tax implications
Adultery may be relevant if there is a prenuptial agreement as well. If the marital agreement contains a clause about waiving alimony unless there is physical or mental abuse, or adultery.
In a Florida divorce, assets are divided under the theory of “equitable distribution.” This means all assets and liabilities should be divided fairly; however, it does not mean a 50/50 split. The law allows for some subjective decisions here, especially if there are circumstances that warrant an uneven distribution. One of these factors is whether a spouse initially depleted or wasted marital assets in the two years prior to the filing date or once the petition was filed. If the cheating spouse was paying for lavish vacations and hotel rooms, or an apartment for the person they were cheating with, the court has the authority to try and compensate the other spouse by “making up” for those assets that were wasted without their knowledge.
Another area where adultery may impact the divorce is in custody decisions. There is no guarantee that the parent who cheated will not be awarded custody or visitation. It is something that may be considered under “moral fitness,” or whether the affair had a negative emotional impact on the child. If the new partner in the affair has a criminal background or any other negative marks on their past, the judge may factor that in as well.
Retaining a Florida Family Law Attorney
Proving adultery can be difficult, and that is why you need a skilled Boca Raton family law attorney. The team at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White has over 50 years combined experience in all aspects of family law and divorce matters. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.