Does Adultery Affect Divorce in Florida?
Under local law, Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that either spouse may seek a divorce from the court without having to prove any particular reason as to why the marriage failed except that it is “irretrievably broken”. However, if one of the parties committed adultery this fact may affect other aspects involving the divorce including alimony, child custody or time sharing, and equitable distribution of marital assets. If you or someone you know is facing divorce, contact an experienced Orlando divorce attorney right away to understand your rights and obligations under Florida law.
Alimony, Child Custody/Time Sharing, and Equitable Distribution
Section 61.08(1) of the Florida Statutes states, in part, “The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded”. In other words, a judge can consider the adulterous action when determining alimony payments. Factors may include whether or not the adultery resulted in a financial detriment to the non-adulterous spouse, such as waste of marital assets for non-marital purposes.
Likewise, section 61.13(3)(f) of the Florida Statutes states the court can consider the “moral fitness” of the parties when deciding time sharing and child custody issues. Should a spouse be able to prove the adultery had – or is reasonably likely to have – an adverse impact on the child or children, a court may limit the adulterous spouse’s custody or visitation rights.
Finally, adultery can affect the equitable distribution of marital property in a divorce. When determining how to distribute marital assets, the court must begin with the premise that this distribution must be equal unless there is a justification for unequitable distribution. Under section 61.075(1)(i) of the Florida Statutes, one of the factors that a court may consider includes “the intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets” after the filing of or within two years prior to the filing of the divorce petition.
Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney
If you or someone you know is facing divorce as a result of your spouse’s adulterous behavior, or has any questions relating to Florida’s no-fault divorce, contact the experienced legal professionals at Steve W. Marsee, P.A. Located in Orlando, Florida, the firm provides legal representation to families throughout Central Florida. Our legal professionals can assist you in any family law-related questions you may have. Call (407) 521-7171 to schedule your initial case evaluation.