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Consequences of Adultery on Divorce Settlements in Florida

Consequences of Adultery on Divorce Settlements in Florida

Consequences of Adultery on Divorce Settlements in Florida

Things can become tricky when adultery is involved in a divorce. Adultery and infidelity are common causes for divorce, with over one-third of married men cheating on the spouse and nearly one-fourth of married women cheating. People often think that the party that cheated will get less, but is that always the case?  What effect (if any) does adultery have on the divorce?

The first step to answering this question is to explain some of the key terms and how they relate to divorce. Infidelity, or adultery, is simply when one spouse has been unfaithful. Adultery refers to a consensual sexual relationship that occurs outside of the marital relationship. When it comes to divorce proceedings, Florida is a “no-fault” state. This means that any reason can be given when filing for divorce and that the court will not decide which party is at fault.

Most people tend to assume that because one party cheated the divorce will be deemed their fault, and they will end up getting less in the divorce, but that is typically not the case. Florida is also an equitable distribution state, meaning that the property of a married couple is split up as evenly as possible in most cases. However, if one spouse spent shared funds on gifts, trips, or even dinners on another partner, the court can view that as a waste of shared assets and penalize the adulterer when the property is being distributed. Still, the spending of shared funds has to be proven, which results in adultery not having a huge impact on property division in most cases.

Florida divorce law specifies that adultery can be taken into account when awarding alimony. Of course, there are many other factors that the court will consider when deciding on alimony. The length of the marriage, income, financial resources, earning capacity, the standard of living, age and fitness of each spouse, will all be taken into account. Additionally, courts will often look to see if joint funds were spent on the affair to help determine the impact it had on the marriage and the financial well-being of either party.

Adultery can also have an impact on what kind of alimony is awarded. There are several different types of alimony that will be awarded based on the circumstances of the marriage and of the divorce. Lump sum alimony is when the alimony is awarded all at once rather than being spread out over any length of time and is a relatively uncommon form of alimony. Temporary or bridge-the-gap alimony is awarded for a set span of time, usually with the purpose of helping one spouse get back on their feet so that they can find a new means to support themselves. Similarly, rehabilitative alimony is awarded when one spouse needs to develop skills to be able to live on their own.

Rehabilitative alimony will only be paid as long as the receiving party continues to develop needed skills. Permanent alimony plans will usually cease to be paid if the receiving spouse remarries, or other similar conditions are met. In some divorce cases, multiple types of alimony will be awarded, such as rehabilitative and permanent, meaning the paying spouse would pay for schooling and then continue to pay a different amount after that. Adultery can influence the court into picking the more strict forms of alimony, or even multiple forms.

While Adultery can have some minor influence over the other aspects of the divorce, it plays a large role in the settlement process. Alimony awards often take adultery into account and can be awarded based on adultery.