How Will Adultery Impact Divorce Proceedings?
People divorce for many reasons but different studies have shown that approximately 20 to 40 percent of marriages end due to adultery. If you are getting a divorce because you or your spouse was unfaithful, you may wonder how the infidelity will affect your divorce case. Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means the spouse filing for divorce does not have to make allegations of fault, or prove the other party is to blame for the breakdown of the marriage. Still, there are ways an extramarital affair can impact certain terms of your divorce.
Alimony is not awarded in all divorce cases. If one spouse requires financial support during or after the divorce proceedings, the court may order the other spouse to pay alimony if they have the means to do so. Once a judge has decided to award alimony, they have broad discretion when choosing the amount to be paid. The Florida statute pertaining to alimony states that the court can consider adultery when deciding on the amount to be paid.
Although judges are allowed to consider adultery when making decisions about alimony, they typically will only do so if marital funds were spent on the affair. For example, if a spouse used marital funds to purchase gifts during the affair, a judge would likely award a higher amount of alimony than they would have otherwise.
Many people who were unfaithful during their marriage think they will lose everything during a divorce. Fortunately, this is not true. However, just as a judge may award more in alimony if marital funds were spent on an affair, they may also award more to the faithful spouse during property division hearings. Judges are expected to divide marital property in a manner that is fair, but not necessarily equal. A judge may determine it is fair to compensate the other spouse for the marital funds lost to infidelity.
The only factors a judge will consider when making child custody decisions are the best interests of the children. An affair will not necessarily hurt a spouse in child custody proceedings, but there are times when it can. Although infidelity is not one of the factors pertaining to the best interests of the child, the moral character of the parents is. A judge may determine that someone who had an affair is not of good moral character, particularly if the infidelity directly affected the child.
For example, a child may learn that their parent is having an affair. If the parent asked the child to keep it a secret, that is damaging to the child and so, a judge may take that into consideration when deciding on child custody.
Our Family Lawyer in Brandon Can Advise on Your Case
Whether you were unfaithful or your spouse was, there are certain ways an affair can impact a divorce case. At Koether Law, P.A., our Brandon family lawyer can advise you of your legal options and help you obtain the best settlement possible. Call us now at 813-347-8193 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation.