Does it Matter that My Spouse was Unfaithful?
Many divorces in Florida may stem from suspicions, allegations, or even open admissions of infidelity on the part of one or both spouses. Such adultery may very likely and understandably incite strong feelings of anger, betrayal, and other hurtful emotions. Victims of adultery may further wish to hold their spouse accountable for their actions in the divorce by taking custody of the children, keeping the majority of the marital property, demanding exorbitant spousal support payments, and more. Unfortunately, accusations or even proof of adultery may not give you as much of an advantage as you expect in divorce proceedings in the state of Florida.
No-Fault Divorce in Florida
Under Florida law, all divorces within the state are filed on a “no-fault” basis. This means that you are not required to cite and prove a specific reason for your desire to get a divorce, and you may simply claim that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” No-fault divorce is beneficial for the following reasons and more:
- Simplifies and shortens divorce proceedings as one spouse does not have to adequately prove to the court that another spouse was unfaithful or other specific grounds for divorce.
- Allows spouses to receive settlements and support orders based on need, earning capacity, ability to pay, and other objective factors rather than on alleged fault.
- Makes it substantially easier for a person afraid of domestic violence to obtain a divorce and to get out of an abusive relationship
No-fault divorce also means, however, that a court will generally not consider accusations of adultery in divorce proceedings except in certain instances.
When does infidelity matter?
In some cases, a showing of infidelity may influence a court’s ruling on certain matters in a divorce. For example, the Florida alimony statute allows a court to consider whether either spouse was unfaithful and the circumstances surrounding the adultery when determining how much alimony to award, if any.
You may also receive a more favorable division of property if you can show that your spouse spent marital funds to support an extramarital relationship. Wasting marital funds on dates, hotels, apartments, gifts, or other affair-related expenses may limit an unfaithful spouse’s right to part of the remaining marital property.
A court may also consider adulterous behavior when ruling on parenting plans and child custody matters. A court considers the “moral fitness” of each parent as one of the many factors in determining what type of arrangement is in the best interests of a child. Additionally, if you can show that your spouse’s affairs and social activities will result in an environment that may negatively impact your child, a court may decide to limit the visitation or custodial rights of your spouse.
Contact an Experienced Tampa Bay Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation
Many issues often come with divorce, including adultery, custody battles, property concerns, and more. Sorting through these issues may be complicated. It is important for anyone considering a divorce to contact an experienced Tampa Bay divorce attorney at All Family Law Group, P.A. by calling 813-816-2232 for a complimentary consultation at no charge.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+