Adultery and Divorce
Florida is considered a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that to end a marriage, the court does not require a full disclosure of why you are getting a divorce. This also means that adultery does not affect most decisions regarding divorce. “No-fault” allows either party to ask the court for a divorce based only on the incompatibility between the couple.
Adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and another who is not their spouse. In Florida, adultery is considered a misdemeanor of the second according to the Florida Statute 798.01. A couple is still considered married until they are pronounced divorced by the court. Since Florida is a “no fault” divorce state, parties will not have to prove that adultery is evident. They will only have to tell the court that they are no longer compatible.
If a spouse commits adultery, the other parent may be able to prove that it has had an adverse impact on the children. Their judgment as a parent may be called into question. The court determines what is in the best interest of the child in regards to child custody, which may lead to the adulterous parent having their time-sharing limited or eliminated. This will only be if the court determines that the adulterous relationship is negatively affecting the child.
The Florida courts seek to divide assets evenly and justly among both parties. However, when there is adultery, this can have an effect on the outcome of the divorce. Florida is an equitable distribution state so marital assets and liabilities will be evenly divided. However, the court may reduce the adulterer’s share of marital assets to compensate the other spouse any wasted income on the non-marital partner. If the spouse in the adulterous relationship used the marital assets during the affair to purchase trips or gifts, the court may compensate those assets to the other spouse. The same can be true is property or household items were shared with the adulterous partner.
Adultery is listed as a factor to be considered in determining the amount of alimony awarded, but in a “no-fault” state this is determined on a case-by-case basis. A lawyer can help you navigate the impact of adultery in your divorce. It depends on which spouse is requesting alimony and which spouse committed adultery, but the court will make the final decisions on if alimony payments will be reduced or increased.
LaFrance Law provides the best legal advice for navigating a divorce and what your rights are with regards to property division, alimony and child custody.