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Will Adultery Affect Divorce Proceedings?

David Scott, P.A. Aug. 22, 2022

If you are feeling the pain of your spouse’s betrayal, you may feel vengeful, and want to use your upcoming divorce proceedings to hurt your spouse. If you are the spouse that cheated, you might be afraid the judge will look unfavorably upon your indiscretions and take pity on your spouse.

Legal, financial, and emotional factors all play into a judge’s final decisions regarding divorce. Is adultery one of them?

Fault vs. No Fault States

Did you know that in North Dakota, you can file for divorce on the grounds of “persistent refusal to have reasonable marital intercourse?”

Most fault-based divorces are based on adultery, abandonment, or cruelty, but when you can point fingers based on your bedroom habits, fault-based divorces can get complicated and downright odd.

Partially because of this, Florida is one of 17 states that does not consider fault in divorce proceedings. You and your spouse must claim that your marriage is “irretrievably broken,” but you do not need to provide an explanation beyond that.

One exception? You can file for divorce on the grounds that your spouse is legally insane or mentally incompetent. However, you will have to do more than just tell the judge that your spouse is crazy. You will have to have confirmation from two psychiatrists that your spouse is incurably insane, and proof of previous admittance into a mental health facility may need to be provided.

But as far as adultery is concerned, it will not be questioned or considered throughout divorce proceedings in our state, and makes no difference in alimony.

(If your spouse is planning on getting remarried after your divorce, that will affect alimony payments, but only after the next marriage is finalized.) 

So, What Does Affect Divorce Proceedings?

Every divorce is different, so a judge has to examine many different factors to make decisions about alimony, property division, and child support. What does a judge look at?

Financial Situation – In regards to property, Florida is an “equitable distribution” state. Florida gives non-marital property to the original owner, and marital property is divided fairly. When you file for divorce, you will have to submit a full financial affidavit that includes a list of your assets, debts, income, and other financial information. These statements will help a judge determine how to divide marital property. Often, the higher-earning spouse will receive more marital property.

Education and Career – When a judge calculates alimony payments, he or she is typically looking to find a temporary amount that will help the lower-earning spouse get on their feet after the divorce. If the lower-earning spouse is finishing his or her education and will use it to obtain a higher-earning job, a judge will take that into consideration.

Domestic Violence – You cannot cite abuse as the main factor in your divorce, but if you feel as though your life is in danger, this could affect how the judge goes about divorce proceedings and determining child visitation. If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to talk to a family attorney immediately.

Parenting Plan – If you and your spouse have children or are expecting a child at the time of your divorce, you will have to create a parenting plan that lays out your schedule for visiting and caring for your child. Florida prefers equal time-sharing agreements, but the following will be considered when looking at co-parenting agreements:

  • The health and safety of the child with each parent

  • The child’s physical and emotional needs

  • The child’s mental and emotional development

  • Standard of living for the child pre-divorce

  • Anticipated standard of living for the child with each parent

With so many factors going into divorce decisions, it is important to have an attorney who can represent you and fight for the property and rights you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.