Marriages end for a variety of reasons, but one of the most talked about reasons for divorce is infidelity. While the spouse that was cheated on may feel that their partner’s adultery should be front and center during the divorce, it may not be of significance to a Florida family court. In no-fault divorce states like Florida, courts nowadays are not legally required to determine who was at fault for the divorce and couples do not need to prove to the court that they have a reason to divorce.
However, adultery, or voluntary sexual intercourse with a party outside of the marriage, can impact various issues that arise in the divorce, including alimony, property division, and child custody.
Courts will award alimony to a stay-at-home spouse or lesser-earning spouse if they need financial support on a temporary or permanent basis after the divorce. If the unfaithful spouse’s adulterous behaviors caused financial harm to the faithful spouse receiving alimony, courts may increase the amount of alimony paid.
In equitable distribution states like Florida, a court will make property division decisions based on a number of factors to divide up marital property in a fair and equitable way. Courts may choose to give the non-cheating spouse a larger share of the assets to make up for the adultery, particularly if the cheating spouse used marital funds to fuel the affair (e.g. vacations with affair partner, renting an apartment, gifts for affair partner).
Many factors are considered when determining child custody arrangements, but the court’s main focus is always the best interest of the child. Courts may consider a parent’s moral fitness when evaluating custody and may therefore determine that a spouse’s adultery negatively affected the child. As a result, the adulterous spouse may lose custody or visitation rights.
In order for adultery to have an impact on your divorce, the spouse claiming adultery will need to provide solid evidence of the affair. A divorce attorney can help you build your case and protect your interests throughout the process.