What is the Role of Adultery in a Florida Divorce?
Adultery is a common trigger for divorce, and the non-cheating spouse is often ready to bring the fact that their spouse cheated to the divorce table as conspicuously as possible. Many people may further believe they automatically deserve a better deal in a divorce than their adulterous spouse. In reality, however, adultery plays less of a role in a Florida divorce than most people may believe.No-Fault Divorce
Under Florida law, divorces are treated as “no-fault.” This means no specific reason or blame must be proven in order for the court to grant your divorce—you must simply cite that the marriage is irretrievably broken. For this reason, courts often do not need—and do not want—to hear about deeper issues such as adultery.
This is not necessarily a negative thing, however. In fact, not having to address adultery in divorce takes a huge burden of off the accusing party. In the past in “fault” divorces, spouses could not merely come into court, accuse a spouse of adultery, and have the court agree. That spouse was required to present proof of the affair in order to obtain a divorce and settlement based on adultery. Such proof often required hiring private investigators, dragging friends and family members into court to testify, and much more. This process was often time-consuming, costly, and emotionally difficult. No-fault divorces allow spouses to legally split without having to snoop, point fingers, and use other dirty tactics.Is Adultery Ever Relevant?
There are some circumstances under which adultery may be addressed in a Florida divorce, however. For example, if you can prove that your spouse has spent a significant amount of marital assets on the affair, it may affect a court’s ruling on the equitable division of assets. The court may award you more of the marital property to offset any losses you experienced due to the affair. Additionally, if your spouse is requesting alimony, a court may not require you to pay such marital support if you show they were adulterous.
Adultery may also have an effect on child custody and timesharing. If your spouse is planning to immediately live with an extramarital partner, the court may decide that throwing children into that environment right after their parents’ split is not in their best interest. Additionally, if one parent is focused on spending all of their free time with a romantic partner, they might not have time to focus on their relationship with the children.
If you want to bring up adultery in divorce proceedings, know that it may get messy. An experienced attorney can always advise you if the possible benefits of broaching the topic of adultery is worth it.
If you are considering divorce, experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney Alan R. Burton can advise you on your best course of action and help you through every step of the process. We strive to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible for you, so please do not hesitate to contact our office for assistance with your divorce today.