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Infidelity and no-fault divorce in Florida

Although Florida's no-fault divorce laws means either spouse may file for divorce based on a marriage that is "irretrievably broken," that does not mean that a judge may not take bad marital behavior into account when making decisions about the judgment.

This blog will discuss issues judges may take under consideration when deciding about custody, alimony and spousal maintenance.

Infidelity is issue number one

When one spouse cites the other's infidelity as the reason for filing, he or she may think that getting custody will be a lock. That is not necessarily the case, however. The best interests of the child will always be the highest priority, no matter what the parents may think of each other.

If the affair had a detrimental impact on the child's emotional well-being, the judge may take the circumstances under consideration.

For example, if the husband conducted an affair with a "mistress" who had a dubious reputation, the judge may determine that it will not be in the best interest to grant him custody of a child, especially if the relationship is unlikely to continue. If the affair was of a temporary nature, trust issues may develop and the relationship between child and biological parents could be damaged. 

If, on the other hand, the affair will likely lead to a long-term relationship and possible marriage, the judge may decide that it should have no bearing on the custody decision. Character matters...even if it is not supposed to under the no-fault laws.

Alimony and property division

Bad marital behavior should not be punishable by alimony or an unfair division of marital property. However, if one of the spouses hid the cost of spending marital assets on the affair or lost significant amounts due to a gambling addiction, some "payback" may be in order. The filing spouse may successfully argue that the only way to recover the lost money and property is through higher spousal maintenance or division of property. Judges will take each case under consideration.

If you have questions about whether infidelity or marital behavior will affect how a judge will handle your divorce in South Florida, talk to an experienced family law attorney.  

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