How Does Adultery Affect a Divorce?
If you’re going through a divorce and either you or your spouse engaged in an affair, you may be wondering how adultery can affect the proceedings. Florida is a no-fault state, so the spouse who files for divorce simply has to show that the marriage is irretrievably broken—they don’t have to prove adultery or any other specific cause. However, adultery may still come into play when the court is determining certain matters.
Impact on Financial Issues
Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning courts will try to divide assets and liabilities between divorcing spouses as fairly as possible, even if the split is not exactly equal. While adultery in and of itself generally won’t impact the division of property, the court may consider whether the cheating spouse devoted significant amounts of marital assets to the affair. For example, if the adulterous spouse has been paying the other person’s bills, taking them on extravagant dates or vacations, or buying them luxurious gifts, the court may take that into account and award more property to the other spouse to make up the difference.
The court may also consider adultery when deciding whether to award alimony. For instance, if the cheating spouse spent so much money on the affair that the other spouse now can’t support him or herself, the court may issue an alimony award as compensation.
Impact on Child Custody and Visitation
Courts have to consider a number of factors when determining custody and visitation, including the moral fitness of each parent. Adultery doesn’t automatically affect this determination, but if the court finds that the affair negatively impacted the cheating spouse’s parenting—if he or she was lying or spending time with the other person rather than with the children, for example—then it may take the affair into consideration and award the adulterous spouse less parenting time.
Divorce Attorneys Serving Clients in the Tampa Bay Area
If you need a divorce attorney in the Tampa Bay area, you can turn to the Law Offices of Audrey A. Jefferis, P.A. Our knowledgeable family law attorneys will be able to let you know how adultery may affect your divorce based on the specific circumstances of your case. Contact us to schedule a consultation.