Does adultery matter in a divorce in Florida?

Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state, which allows either spouse to seek a divorce without having to prove any reason for it except that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This means that the Florida Courts are not going to be compelled to determine which spouse is the “cause” of the divorce. This doesn’t mean that the reasons you are seeking a divorce are insignificant.

Photo by t0zz on freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by t0zz on freedigitalphotos.net

Each divorcing couple has their own individual story that brought them to the point where they are contacting our office. Marriages are broken by infidelity, substance abuse, financial disputes, lack of communication, and simply growing apart, to name a few causes. Clients often raise the issue of their spouse’s infidelity and are curious to know how that might impact the outcome of the divorce. While adultery isn’t a factor in the court’s decision as to whether it can grant a divorce, it can play a role in the determination of alimony, the parenting plan, and even property distribution.

The Florida Statute pertaining to alimony lists adultery as a factor that the court MAY consider in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. Adultery is not the only factor listed in the Statute. Just because one or both of the spouses were unfaithful during the marriage doesn’t mean that alimony will absolutely be ordered or not ordered.

A parent’s unfaithfulness can be a factor the court considers when ordering a parenting plan. The Statute lists moral fitness as one of the factors it considered in devising a parenting plan, which includes parental decision making and timesharing arrangement. If a parent proves the unfaithful parent’s actions negatively affected the child(ren), the court will weigh this evidence with other evidence admitted in finalizing a parenting plan order.

If a divorcing spouse can prove that the other spouse was intentionally dissipating or wasting marital assets on their girlfriend or boyfriend, such as buying expensive gifts, trips, or alternate residence, it may be appropriate to reduce the cheating spouse’s share of the marital assets in order to account for the wasted funds. An extensive amount of discovery would need to be completed to collect evidence to prove the adulterer was dissipating marital assets.

For more information on divorce and family law issues, email Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

     Posted on June 16, 2015 at 11:50 am | No comment

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