Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which essentially means that it grants divorces based on the premise that, unfortunately, sometimes marriages simply do not work out. If a spouse wants to put an end to a marriage, it is not necessary to prove that the other spouse committed any wrongdoing. Even if a spouse did commit adultery, he or she cannot be penalized for that fact alone, unless other circumstances are involved.
Understanding Grounds for Divorce
In the state of Florida, there are officially two grounds for divorce: a spouse is mentally incapacitated or the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” If your spouse was unfaithful, the latter of these two grounds would apply, though you would not state the allegations of infidelity in the petition. That said, you would be able to later tell the court of your spouse’s adulterous actions and it might be taken into consideration when the time comes to decide on matters of alimony or custody.
Adultery and Property Division
In Florida, a judge cannot award one spouse a disproportionate share of marital property simply because the other was unfaithful. Punitive actions cannot be taken against a spouse for cheating, unless the spouse used marital funds on his or her extramarital affairs. If marital funds were used, the state of Florida allows the courts to consider this when making a decision regarding property and asset division. Additionally, since Florida is an equitable distribution state, this gives a judge a bit of discretion in his or her award. Therefore, less money might be awarded to the unfaithful spouse to compensate for the marital funds he or she spent.
Adultery and Child Custody
A parent will not be refused custody or visitation rights on the basis of his or her unfaithfulness. That does not mean it cannot affect child custody at all, however. Florida, like many other states, considers “moral fitness” when deciding with whom the children will spend the majority of their time. If the non-cheating spouse can prove the other spouse’s affair harmed their children, this will be taken into consideration.
Adultery and Alimony
It is also possible for alimony to be impacted by a spouse’s adulterous actions. The court can consider infidelity when deciding the amount of alimony to be awarded to a spouse. As is the case with property division, this cannot be punitive. If a judge decides to award a spouse a larger sum of alimony, it will not be based on the unfaithful behavior itself, but rather on whether or not the other spouse’s infidelity negatively impacted the other spouse’s finances.
Contact The Virga Law Firm, P.A.
If you recently filed for divorce, now is the time to seek the experienced and compassionate legal representation you need to navigate you through this difficult time. Family law can be complicated, and this is undoubtedly an emotional time for you, which is why the legal team at The Virga Law Firm, P.A. is dedicated to helping families reach a fair resolution.
Reach out to our team today. Call us at (800) 822-5170 to schedule a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable member of our skilled legal team.