Florida Divorce Law Concerning Adultery
The end of a marriage is always an emotional time, whatever the circumstances. When one of the parties has committed adultery, emotions run even higher. If you’re the person who has been cheated on, you may feel betrayed, humiliated, or have a desire for vengeance or to make the cheating party ‘pay for what they’ve done’. If you’re the one involved in an extra-marital affair or relationship, you may have serious concerns on how the court will view your behavior. Florida is a no-fault divorce state, but that doesn’t mean adultery won’t be considered by the court. If you’re planning on getting divorced, and your spouse committed adultery, there are some important aspects of Florida law that you should be aware of.
Florida No-Fault Divorce Laws
Adultery is a common reason many people end up in divorce court. While being unfaithful to marriage vows may be a reason to contemplate divorcing your spouse, under Florida law it’s not a reason in and of itself for the court to grant you a divorce. Under Section 61.052 of the Florida State Statutes, there are only two reasons the court specifically recognizes for dissolution of a marriage: when the marriage is irretrievably broken, or when one of the parties is mentally incapacitated.
A marriage can be irretrievably broken for any number of reasons. Similar to irreconcilable differences, the marriage may be irretrievably broken due to lack of communication, differing views, chronic fighting or adultery. While adultery may be a reason the marriage is broken, the judgment of divorce the court enters will not be specifically for the adultery. The party that committed the adultery that contributed to the divorce will not be considered at fault for the divorce.
Consequences of Adultery in a Florida Divorce
As we mentioned, Florida is a no-fault divorce state, but that doesn’t mean adultery doesn’t have consequences. According to the Florida Bar Association, adultery may be a factor in the award of alimony, in the determination of child custody, and in the equitable distribution of property.
In terms of alimony, the court may consider additional alimony amounts be paid by a spouse who has committed adultery; likewise, if the person to whom alimony is to be paid is found by the court to have engaged in an extramarital affair or affairs, the amount of alimony may be reduced or eliminated altogether. The same goes with equitable distribution of property. A spouse determined to have spent significant amounts of money on a person other than themselves may find themselves on unequal footing when the time comes to divide assets. In determining child custody, having engaged in adultery has the potential to impact custody and visitation, as the court’s main focus will be in the greater good of the children. The court is likely to view an extramarital affair as having potentially harmful effects on the children involved.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Family Law Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce where adultery is an issue, it’s important to consult with an experienced family law lawyer. At the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III, we have experience in handling sensitive matters relating to divorce, alimony and support, in Ft. Pierce and throughout St. Lucie County. We understand the emotional turmoil that surrounds a divorce. Our lawyers are here to guide you through the process and ensure your divorce settlement is one you can live with.