Adultery is one of the most common causes of divorce. So, what are the effects of adultery as it relates to divorce? Can it affect how spousal support, child support, or asset and property division will be determined in court? Today, we discuss how infidelity impacts a divorce in Florida.
Will Infidelity Be Considered When Determining a Divorce Agreement?
While Florida is a no-fault state, meaning you do not need to show fault to pursue a divorce, infidelity is still taken into consideration when determining the division of assets, spousal support, and child custody.
When it comes to determining if spousal support should be awarded, the judge has broad discretion. He/she will consider various factors, including if one spouse has the need for such financial support and if the other can fulfill these payments. Another factor to be considered is adultery. Historically, the court will only consider this factor if the adultery caused a depletion in martial assets. Therefore, to prove this, you must show how the adultery negatively impacted you and your spouse’s finances. This could include spending money on lavish vacations, gifts, or property.
Will Adultery Impact Equitable Distribution?
Adultery could also be considered during the equitable distribution process. The court is given discretion to determine fair division of property, which includes looking at various factors, such as marital misconduct. Adultery is a form of marital misconduct. If it is found that the marital estate took a financial hit due to an extramarital affair, this could affect the amount of assets and/or debts assigned to that spouse.
For example, if an unfaithful spouse used a credit card he/she shares with their spouse to support his/her paramour, the credit card debt accrued could be assigned to this spouse without any impact on the other spouse. The court’s goal is to obtain equity between both parties and if one relationship caused financial strain to the other spouse, the court will do its best to ensure this spouse receives financial compensation.
Will Adultery Affect Child Custody Rulings?
The court could take this factor into account when determining custody. The court will look to the best interests of the child standard to figure out custody, which means if one spouse’s affair negatively impacted the wellbeing of the child, this factor will carry weight in a custody determination.
In most cases, infidelity will only be considered if evidence can be presented as to how this behavior was detrimental to the child. For example, if one parent decided to waste funds on his/her paramour, neglecting their child’s needs, the court would take this into consideration before making a decision.
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