How Does Infidelity Affect A Divorce Settlement?
In Florida, all divorces are no-fault divorces. This means that aside from the residency and filing requirements, all a couple needs to do to end their marriage is to state that they are no longer compatible with each other.
When the court has to divide the couple’s assets for them and create a parenting plan for their minor children, it considers a variety of facts about the couple’s marriage and lifestyle. Infidelity may be one of the issues considered, but only if it had a significant impact on the couple’s marital estate or one parent’s ability to provide for the couple’s children. In this sense, infidelity can affect a couple’s divorce settlement, but it does not always affect the settlement.
Infidelity and Marital Assets
The primary way infidelity can affect a divorce settlement is by impacting the assessed value and appropriate distribution of their assets. This is important for two components of a divorce settlement: the couple’s property division and if one partner seeks alimony, his or her alimony award.
Infidelity is only considered in these circumstances if it somehow impacted the couple’s finances. Examples of this are cases where the cheating spouse spends household funds on gifts, evenings out, and vacations with his or her affair partner. In a scenario like this, the other partner must demonstrate to the court how his or her spouse’s infidelity had a negative impact on their marital funds and other assets. With this in mind, the court may distribute a larger share of the couple’s assets to the non-cheating spouse or consider it in the development of an alimony order.
Infidelity and Parenting Plans
Although infidelity in itself does not “count” against a parent in the court’s determination of a parenting plan, each parent’s moral fitness and willingness to cooperate with the other parent regarding their children do. So in a way, a parent’s infidelity can affect how the court assigns his or her parenting time and parental responsibilities, but this is only the case when the infidelity directly impacts the child’s best interest.
For example, if the parent prioritizes his or her affair partner over the children, the court may use this to justify giving the other parent a larger share of parenting time. If the affair made it impossible for the parents to interact amicably regarding their children, this, too, can be considered when developing their parenting plan. With older children, the child’s preference is one of the factors the court considers when developing a parenting plan. Children can have strong feelings about their parents’ behavior, and a child who disapproves of a parent’s affair may opt not to spend much time with that parent.
Work with an Experienced Tampa Divorce Lawyer
Minor flirting and brief flings generally do not impact divorce settlements. Long-term affairs that involve shared purchases and paying for a partner’s personal expenses do. To discuss how infidelity in your marriage could affect your divorce settlement, discuss your case with an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer. Contact our team at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. today to set up your initial consultation in our office. We can answer your questions and help you develop realistic expectations for your divorce.