The State of Florida is a no-fault state meaning that you do not have to give a reason for wanting a divorce, other than the marriage is irretrievably broken. However, this does not mean that a spouse’s adultery can never play a role in a divorce case. A court may consider adultery as a factor when making determinations regarding alimony and other issues in your divorce.
Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is financial support provided by one spouse to another during or after a divorce. This is one of the most hotly contested issues in divorce cases, especially if there are allegations of infidelity. It is imperative to discuss adultery and other sensitive matters with your divorce lawyer so they can fully evaluate your rights.
Florida law requires the court to determine whether one spouse has the actual need for support and whether the other spouse has the financial ability to provide support. In addition, the law states, “The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.” Because the law specifically allows adultery to be a factor in this decision, spouses may bring raise allegations of adultery before the court when it comes to alimony.
When one spouse accuses the other of adultery, a simple allegation will not be enough. Instead, they must provide evidence to the Court that alleged adultery occurred and how it affected the marriage. As you can imagine, evidence of adultery is usually highly personal in nature, and having a spouse present such evidence in open court can be distressing and can increase animosity between the spouses.
In considering the evidence presented, the judge will examine whether the non-adulterous spouse suffered a financial detriment. If the cheating spouse spent marital funds on the affair, including meals, gifts, hotel rooms, or vacations, the non-cheating spouse experienced financial losses as a result.
Adultery can affect alimony determinations in different ways. For example:
- If the cheating spouse would pay alimony – The judge can consider whether the cheating spouse made the non-cheating spouse’s financial situation more difficult including reducing the value of property distribution.
- If the cheating spouse would receive alimony – The judge can consider whether the adultery contributed to the cheating spouse’s need for alimony.
Adultery may affect either spouse in an alimony decision. However, the occurrence of adultery is never going to solely control whether you pay or receive alimony. Instead, it is one of many factors considered by the court.
At Carman & Bevington, we help clients fight for fair alimony determinations, whether or not adultery is an issue. If you are getting divorced, you should learn the many ways our Brandon divorce lawyers can help. Call 813-305-0631 or contact us online today.