Does Proof Of Adultery Make A Spouse Ineligible For Alimony In Florida?
A married couple shares three children together and have been together for more than 15 years. One spouse is the primary breadwinner and is required to travel 75% of the time as part of the job. The other spouse is a stay-at-home parent busy with three small children. The supported spouse ends up cheating on the supporting spouse, and the supporting spouse eventually finds out. The next day she files for divorce. She is aghast to learn that even though her spouse committed adultery, he may still be eligible for alimony because of his non-monetary contributions to their marriage. Is it true that adulterous spouses may still be eligible for alimony in Florida?
Determining Eligibility for Alimony
Courts determine eligibility for spousal support in Florida using several factors. These factors include both spouses’ monetary and non-monetary contributions to the marriage, each spouse’s education, monthly income, and the length of the marriage. The court will also look at the ability of either party to pay alimony and still be able to support themselves, the other party’s financial need for alimony and the age and physical health of either party.
For example, if a couple has been married for 25 years, and in those 25 years the supported spouse has never worked, has no demonstrable skills and no professional connections it’s unlikely that they would be able to find employment or be able to support themselves. In this case they might be eligible for indefinite alimony. In other cases, a spouse might be eligible for rehabilitative alimony for a small period of time while they look for work or obtain education to get a better job.
Is Adultery A Factor?
Florida is a no-fault divorce state. This means that when a party files for divorce they do not need to state a reason for doing so. While a party can list adultery as a reason for separation in their complaint, doing so means that they need to prove that adultery occurred. They would need to prove that the other spouse had both the opportunity and the disposition to act. Even if this is proven in court, the court may still award alimony to the adulterous spouse if they find that they meet the conditions for an award.
But, Florida Statute 61.08 states that the court will look at evidence of an extramarital affair when determining what award to make, if any. Courts are especially interested in determining if in the course of the extramarital affair the other spouse dissipated marital funds. This may require the use of forensic accounting. It’s also impossible to sue the other party involved in the extramarital affair. This used to be called an alienation of affection suit, but is no longer valid in Florida and many other states.
Call Our Tampa Divorce Attorneys at Bubley & Bubley
Dealing with infidelity is not an easy journey. It is painful and gut wrenching. The last thing you want to think about is a cheating spouse receiving alimony. However, it is a possibility. Our Tampa family attorneys at Bubley & Bubley understand how sensitive these issues are and we can help you identify a strategy for moving forward. We will provide tailored advice for your specific issue so that we can find the best solution. Call us today to schedule a comprehensive consultation.