How Will an Affair Affect My Divorce?

July 24, 2019

An issue that commonly arises during divorce proceedings is the existence of an affair on the part of one of the spouses. Adultery is handled differently from state to state when it comes to the divorce process, so what effect can you expect it to have on a divorce here in Florida?

Here’s some important information from our divorce lawyers in Tavares, FL.

No-fault state

Florida is a no-fault divorce state, and has been since 1971. What this means is that parties to a divorce in Florida do not need to prove either party committed any form of wrongdoing to prompt the divorce—it’s enough for there to have been an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. This means you shouldn’t expect adultery to make much of a difference in the basic functions of your divorce proceedings—your ability to file for divorce does not hinge on your ability to prove your spouse was unfaithful.

However, that does not mean adultery will have no effect at all on the outcome of the divorce—it may affect some of the decision-making processes the court will have in certain elements of your divorce case.

For example, as a judge considers alimony awards and the distribution of your marital assets, he or she may take infidelity into consideration as part of this process, creating a less favorable arrangement to a partner who cheated. Even in these scenarios, though, there will still need to be some solid, compelling evidence that one partner cheated if the court is going to use that information to adjust the award it gives to either party.

In addition, if the spouse who had the affair spent or wasted marital assets to sustain that affair, this information could be used against the spouse in the divorce, impacting alimony and asset distribution decisions. Examples would be if the spouse having the affair frequently paid for extravagant gifts, dates, vacations or other costs associated with keeping up the affair.

Finally, if the spouse who had the affair did so in front of or with the clear knowledge of the couple’s children, this could also impact the decisions made by the court with regard to alimony, marital asset distribution or even child custody. The court will look down upon this as being highly inappropriate behavior, and will absolutely take it into consideration when determining whether or not the spouse who had the affair is fit for maintaining custody of the children.

So, while there is no effect on your ability to file divorce in a timely manner when adultery is present, it could still affect your case in other ways, so it’s important to work with an attorney who understands how to prove adultery occurred and how to fight for your best interests in court to make sure you get a favorable result with your divorce settlement.

For more information about adultery and divorce and the steps you should take to proceed with your case, contact K.J. Law P.A. An experienced defense attorney in Tavares, FL can answer any questions you have, and will be happy to work with you and provide the assistance you need.

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