Research from the American Psychological Association (APA) shows that adultery is the reason for up to 40 percent of divorces in the country. People going through a divorce because of infidelity in their marriage often wonder what impact it will have on the proceedings. While learning that your partner has been unfaithful and violated their marriage vows can be heartbreaking, the law largely dismisses this as inconsequential in filing a divorce.
Divorce in Florida is “no-fault,” which means that neither spouse has to prove a reason for wanting a divorce other than the fact that they no longer desire to be married to one other. As a result, infidelity will not affect your eligibility to divorce. This is not to say that adultery has completely no bearing on your divorce proceedings. In fact, it has the potential to make a significant impact on several critical issues. In this article, we will discuss how infidelity can affect other elements of divorce.
Although the law does not clearly define the term “adultery,” a married individual who engages in sexual activity with a person other than their spouse is regarded to have committed adultery in the eyes of Florida courts. It is considered a misdemeanor in Florida, so if your partner catches you in the act and reports it to the authorities, you could face criminal charges. The state rarely prosecutes adultery, but your infidelity may be factored in the proceedings if you’re going through a divorce.
Effect of Adultery on the Division of Property
In most divorce cases in Florida, marital property will be split evenly between the two parties. It is common for both spouses to be granted property of equal or similar value. This division is entirely up to the court’s discretion, provided that both parties receive fair treatment. Misconduct committed by one spouse during the marriage usually has little bearing on how the court decides to split the couple’s assets.
Depending on what kind of relationship the cheating partner was in, infidelity could sometimes affect how the marital property is divided. For example, in certain adulterous situations, the unfaithful spouse would spend a lot of money on lavish presents for their lover. They may also financially support their paramours at the expense of their partners and children. In such cases, the non-adulterous spouse may be entitled to a larger share of the marital estate if the extramarital affair has resulted in any harm or injury.
Effect of Adultery on Child Custody
When deciding on custody and visitation arrangements, Florida law considers the child’s best interests. To apply this rule, it may be necessary to decide if each parent is fit. One criteria that the courts often consider is moral character. A Florida court may rule that adultery is an indication of a person’s lack of morality.
Nevertheless, this isn’t always the case. Visitation or custody rights are not automatically denied because of an individual’s history of infidelity. In most cases, proof that adultery had a negative impact on a person’s ability to be a good parent is required.
Effect of Adultery on Alimony
One spouse may be required to pay alimony while their divorce is pending and, in some cases, for a specified time following the divorce. Alimony aims to equalize the financial circumstances of the two parties involved.
If an adulterous relationship is discovered by a family law judge, they can use that information to determine how much and how long an alimony order should be. When determining a divorce settlement, the court can consider financial injury caused by an extramarital relationship, such as using marital property to support the affair or giving presents to the lover at the spouse’s expense.
While it is correct that Florida is a no-fault divorce state, this merely implies that either party can seek and obtain a divorce regardless of the degree of misconduct that contributed to the dissolution of the marriage. However, this doesn’t mean that conduct during the marriage or shortly after filing a divorce petition is of no consequence. Getting involved in an adulterous relationship can significantly impact a court’s decision-making process when it comes to alimony payments, child custody, and the split of the marital property.
Divorcing your spouse can be stressful and draining in many ways. With the help of an expert Jacksonville divorce lawyer, you don’t have to undertake the journey on your own.