How Does Adultery Impact A Divorce Settlement In Florida?
This is a little tricky. Technically, Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. However, that only means that you don’t need a reason to end a marriage. At one point in time, you had to make specific allegations or the court would not hear your case. This produced an environment in which couples that wanted to divorce began making outlandish and baseless claims against each other to ensure the process moved forward. As of 2010, there was only one state in the country that still operated on this system: New York, and they have since added no-fault divorces to their repertoire.
Florida operates on a pure no-fault system which means that the only reason you need to proceed with a divorce is that you and your partner have irreconcilable differences. But that doesn’t mean that an allegation of adultery won’t impact your divorce. It will. Especially if the marriage ends abruptly and immediately after the adultery is uncovered.
Condonation as a defense to adultery
As stated earlier, a spouse who uncovers adultery and immediately files for divorce can mention the adultery as one of the main pressures that instigated the divorce. However, technically, the only reason accepted under Florida law is irreconcilable differences. Even in fault-based divorce states, a spouse can claim that the other party tacitly condoned the affair by forgiving it. When the situation became more than they could bear, they decided to accuse the other party of adultery and then tell the court that was the main reason why the marriage broke up. The court is unlikely to consider such a claim because the spouse did not pull the trigger on the divorce immediately. That becomes a major problem for spouses who attempt to repair their marriage after adultery occurs.
Equitable distribution and adultery
Florida is an equitable distribution state and an affair can factor into what the court considers equitable. When determining equitability, the court may consider the contributions of each party to the marriage or contributions to an extra-marital affair. In the event that one spouse spends a good deal of money on a cheat-partner, that would be factored into what is equitable. The court would consider the spent funds property of the marital estate, not one partner. It would be considered an extra-marital expenditure and it would be deducted from the cheating party’s ledger. In terms of the children, the court can consider the impact of the affair on their emotional lives.
So, those are two major ways that an allegation of adultery can factor into a divorce settlement. However, they are not strictly related to adultery per se, but rather financial or emotional problems that occur because of adultery. In other words, an allegation of adultery alone probably won’t have a major impact on your divorce settlement unless you can prove harm to the children or financial loss from the marital estate.
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