When Does Infidelity Affect a Couple’s Divorce Settlement?
It is not uncommon for an affair to be the reason why a couple divorces. Although some couples do recover from infidelity, doing so can be extremely difficult and for many couples, impossible.
Although infidelity may be the reason behind a Florida couple’s divorce, neither party has to cite it in their divorce paperwork. This is because in Florida, all divorces are “no fault” divorces, which means that couples must only state that they are no longer compatible and choose to end their marriages. Generally, an individual’s infidelity does not impact his or her divorce settlement, but there are circumstances where it can. When infidelity affects a divorce settlement, it does not affect it directly. Rather, the affair’s effects are what is considered when determining how to divide the couple’s assets, create an alimony order, and determine an appropriate parenting plan.
When it Impacts their Marital Assets
When an affair has an impact on a couple’s marital assets, it may be considered in their property division or the development of an alimony order.
In Floria, a couple’s assets are divided according to the doctrine of equitable distribution. When one partner reduces the couple’s marital estate’s value through an affair, the other partner may receive a larger share of their assets to “make up for” this loss. Examples of ways cheating partners can reduce their marital estates include:
- Paying for an affair partner’s expenses like rent and car payments;
- Taking an affair partner out locally and paying for vacations with him or her; and
- Purchasing gifts for an affair partner.
Similarly to considering an affair when dividing the couple’s property, the court may consider how an affair impacted the value of the couple’s marital estate when determining an appropriate alimony package for the spouse seeking this maintenance.
When it Demonstrates Poor Moral Fitness in the Cheating Parent
When a Florida court develops a parenting plan for a divorcing couple’s minor children, it creates the plan it determines to fit the children’s best interests. To do this, the court considers a set of factors about the parents, the children’s needs, and their lifestyle, one of which is each parent’s “moral fitness.”
“Moral fitness” has a large gray area. The court may take a parent’s frequent interactions with casual partners or his or her long-term affair during the marriage into consideration when developing a parenting plan if the parent’s behavior impacted the child in a negative way. This could be because the parent exhibited extreme dishonesty related to his or her affair or prioritized the affair over his or her family.
For Guidance through All Aspects of your Divorce, Work with Draper Law Office
If you are considering filing for divorce, discuss your case with an experienced Florida divorce lawyer first to work out your goals and expectations for the process. Contact our team at Draper Law Office online or by calling 866-767-4711 today to schedule your initial consultation in one of our three Central Florida offices: Kissimmee, St. Cloud, and Orlando.