Adultery and Alimony in Florida Divorces
In my practice as a Jacksonville divorce attorney, adultery has occurred (or is occurring) in a significant number of cases I handle. Adultery is often a symptom of larger problems in a marriage, but it is commonly cited as the reason the parties are divorcing. Many of my clients have had limited interaction with the legal system prior their divorce, so not surprisingly, they often possess misconceptions about Florida divorce law. One of the most common misconceptions is the role adultery plays in the outcome of the parties’ divorce.
Florida is a No-Fault Divorce State
Under Florida’s no-fault divorce law, a spouse does not need to show wrongful conduct or fault, such as adultery, has occurred to be granted a divorce; a spouse need only show that his or her marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Irretrievably broken means, in essence, that at least one spouse does not wish to remain married, for whatever reason, and there is no possibility of reconciliation.
Florida’s no-fault divorce law discourages parties from bringing marital misconduct issues, such as adultery, into the courtroom. However, despite Florida’s no-fault divorce law, adultery can still be relevant when alimony is an issue in a divorce case.
Adultery and Alimony in Florida
Florida Statute Sec. 61.08 states in relevant part:
“The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.”
As the statute indicates, adultery is a factor Florida courts may consider in determining whether or not to award alimony, but adultery cannot be separated, as a punishment to a spouse who committed adultery, from the other factors necessary to determine the availability of alimony. Even if the paying spouse has committed adultery, the spouse who requests alimony must show the need for alimony and the other spouse’s ability to pay.
In keeping with Florida’s no-fault divorce laws, when adultery and alimony are at issue, courts will often look at whether or not the adultery has had an economic impact on the marriage. If, for example, a spouse has dissipated a substantial amount of marital assets in furtherance of an affair on trips, entertainment and support of a paramour, then a court may issue a lump sum alimony award to compensate the other spouse for the reduction of marital assets caused by adultery.
Contact The Taylor Law Office
If you have any questions Florida divorce law, do not hesitate to contact your divorce lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida. The Taylor Law Office phone number is 904-339-5298 or contact the firm through this website. The Taylor Law Office is here to help!