There are a few states where fault matters in a divorce. Florida, however, is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that neither party needs a reason or excuse for wanting a divorce. All that has to happen is for one spouse to state that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This relieves the court of having to decide who is at fault and both spouses from having to discuss personal reasons for separating.
However, adultery can have an impact on a divorce on a number of other ways. For example, adultery can affect the following:
- Child custody: One of the many factors that are considered when determining custody is moral fitness. If one parent committed adultery, and the judge believes the affair had an adverse affect on the child and the family, it may sway the court’s decision regarding custody.
- Property division: In Florida, property and debts are typically divided evenly. This can change if it is clear that one spouse wasted marital assets. If one spouse spent money on gifts, hotels, trips, and other things during an affair, it could result in a reduction in the adulterer’s share of marital assets. This is one way that the court may compensate the other spouse for the harm his or she has suffered.
- Spousal support: Adultery is specifically listed under Florida law as a determining factor when calculating alimony. However, adultery does not automatically qualify one spouse for financial support. Judges must see that the wronged spouse needs additional support because of the adulterous conduct.
In other words, adultery will not affect the terms of the divorce, but it can have a significant impact on financial matters and child custody. Therefore, anyone going through a divorce would be well advised to speak with a Florida family law attorney. These types of divorce cases can become heated and complicated. An experienced attorney will foresee the potential issues and help navigate the process.