How Adultery Affects Alimony
In most states, whether one spouse cheats on the other during the course of the marriage is not considered during divorce proceedings for issues like property division or other divisions of assets. However, in Florida the judge is allowed to consider instances of adultery when deciding whether and how much alimony should be paid from one spouse to the other when certain circumstances apply. Depending on the length of the affair and amount spent outside of the marriage, it can have a dramatic effect on the amount of alimony that is ordered by the judge.
Florida Alimony Law
Section 61.08 of the Florida statutes dictates all aspects of alimony. It states that “the court may grant alimony to either party . . . The court may consider the adultery of either spouse or the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. In all dissolution actions, the court shall include findings of fact relative to the factors . . . supporting an award or denial of alimony.”
The other factors that the court may consider in an alimony order outside of adultery include:
- Financial resources of each spouse;
- All sources of income for each spouse;
- Each spouse’s earning capacity, education, vocational skills, and employability;
- Time and expense required by a spouse seeking to obtain education and training for employment;
- Standard of living;
- Length of the marriage;
- Each spouse’s age, physical condition, and mental state;
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage;
- Tax consequences; and
- Responsibilities for any minor children.
Consideration of Adultery
Adultery can be considered for all types of alimony payments including bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent periodic payments. When considering adultery as a factor for alimony, the judge will usually look to see if the affair resulted in a financial detriment for the non-adulterous spouse. For example, if the adulterous spouse took the person involved in the affair on vacations, bought them clothes or jewelry, or paid for housing during the course of the marriage the non-adulterous spouse can show a financial detriment to the couple.
The common argument for why adultery should be considered in an alimony order is that the money spent on the affair constituted marital assets that could have otherwise been spent on the benefit of the marriage or family instead of spent on adulterous activities. The courts in Florida have repeatedly held that in order for adultery to play a role in alimony proceedings, the non-adulterous spouse must show that it was intentional, resulted in financial detriment, not condoned or known by the non-adulterous spouse, and resulted in the dissipation of marital assets.
Contact a Florida Family Law Attorney
Claims of adultery can complicate an already messy situation in a divorce or alimony proceedings. If you or someone that you know has questions regarding how adultery could affect the outcome of alimony payments or has other questions regarding family law in the Orlando area, let the experienced office of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. help. Call or contact the office today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.