Will Infidelity Affect My Divorce?
Having extramarital affairs can destroy a marriage and usually leads to divorce. In fact, infidelity has been cited to be responsible for over 20% of divorces in the United States, according to a recent study by the American Psychological Association. If you are considering filing for a divorce and wondering whether infidelity will affect the outcome of your case, it is important that you speak with a knowledgeable Florida family law attorney for proper counsel.
At Fournier Law, PLLC, we are dedicated to offering experienced legal services and helping individuals and spouses navigate complicated divorce situations. Our attorneys are available to discuss your unique situation and enlighten you about the legal options available. Our experienced team can also guide you through every stage of the divorce proceedings and fight to protect your rights and your best interests. We're proud to serve clients in Tallahassee and throughout the entire state of Florida.
Florida is a No-Fault State
Florida is a "no-fault" divorce state. This means spouses seeking a divorce are under no obligation to prove that one party's misconduct was responsible for the breakdown of their marriage. The spouse filing for divorce simply needs to state one of the following:
- The marriage is "irretrievably broken"
- One spouse is mentally incapacitated
Ways Adultery May Play a Factor
Marital infidelity could affect elements of the divorce such as, child custody, alimony, and asset division, in the following ways:
In Florida, child custody or timesharing is awarded based upon what the court determines to be the best interest of the child. Among the factors considered by the court is the moral fitness of each parent. While the facts and circumstances of a case rarely raise the issue of a parent's morality, if one parent can present competent substantial evidence that the other parent's adultery had or will have a negative effect on the child, the court could take that factor into consideration when awarding parenting time.
Additionally, Florida courts award alimony to the requesting spouse if the spouse demonstrates the need for financial support and the other spouse is able to pay. However, when awarding alimony, the court can consider whether the extramarital affair impacted the couple's marital funds, impacted the requesting's spouse need, and, can make findings to support an additional or a reduced award of alimony.
What's more, Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that the judge will divide marital property and debts, equitably between the spouses unless there is a basis for unequal division. One of the factors for the court to consider is whether the spouse who committed adultery intentionally wasted the couple's funds, dissipated marital assets or incurred marital debt by funding vacations, buying jewelry, and other expensive gifts for their lover. If sufficient evidence of misconduct exists, the court can award the non-cheating spouse a greater share of the assets or a lesser share of the debt.
You Deserve an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Discovering that your spouse is having extramarital affairs can be devastating. With infidelity involved, trying to negotiate a divorce settlement, agreeing on spousal support, and dividing marital property, can be more difficult and emotionally overwhelming than normal. In such situations, consulting with an experienced family law attorney is imperative for proper guidance and for help making important decisions.
At Fournier Law, PLLC, our team is devoted to assisting and guiding clients in family law-related matters and in extremely challenging divorce cases where marital misconduct is involved. As your legal counsel, we can review your options and help you determine the best course of action. If possible, we will work with you to help you negotiate a fair divorce settlement or settle any lingering divorce-related issues peacefully and productively. If settlement is not an option, our team will fight to protect your rights, your family's best interests and help you move forward quickly.
Contact us at Fournier Law, PLLC today to schedule a consultation. Our attorneys can offer you the detailed legal guidance, support, and strong advocacy you need to make important decisions in your divorce proceedings. We are proud to serve clients in Tallahassee, North Florida, Big Bend, and counties throughout Florida.