Can Adultery Be a Factor in a Florida Divorce?
In Florida, as in all states that allow no-fault divorce, a couple does not need to provide a reason for getting divorced to move forward with the process. They can simply state that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the relationship. Still, if one spouse cheated on the other, that fact can play a role in the divorce case in several ways. Perhaps the most significant is the effect of adultery on potential alimony (or spousal support). This is codified in the Florida statutes, which explicitly state that a court may consider adultery on the part of one or both spouses when determining alimony awards. While some judges may be reluctant to consider adultery when a couple is seeking a no-fault divorce, it is possible for a spouse to get a more advantageous spousal support judgment if cheating was involved in the relationship. Impact on other issues The presence of adultery could also influence child custody. A court may consider a person’s “moral fitness” to be a parent when making custody decisions. A parent’s adultery could reduce his or her chances of being granted a favorable custody or visitation arrangement, especially if the court deems the parent unfit to care for the children. In some cases, adultery could affect the way the court divides marital debts and assets. Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means these assets and liabilities get distributed fairly though not necessarily equally. But if there is proof that one spouse was unfaithful or abusive, the court could choose to reduce the share of assets that party receives — or increase his or her responsibility for debts. If you need legal representation for your divorce, meet with a skilled Florida divorce attorney at Oberliesen & Henderson. Call our Shalimar office at(850) 863-0494 or contact us online today.