How Does Proof Of Adultery Impact The Outcome Of A Divorce In Florida?
Highschool sweethearts who have been married for 17 years are filing for divorce. The cause: one spouse has cheated and the affair has gone for at least a year. The plaintiff spouse has now learned that the defendant spouse spent through their child’s college fund savings in order to support his new lifestyle and girlfriend. The plaintiff spouse is also concerned that if she does proceed with the divorce she will be unable to support herself or that she will constantly have to see the defendant if they share physical custody. What is the likely outcome of adultery on divorce and child custody cases in Florida?
You can file for divorce under the grounds of adultery, but by doing so you must prove your spouse did in fact have an affair. You have to prove disposition and opportunity. In other words, you must prove that your spouse had the desire to cheat , and the opportunity to act on his indiscretion. This might be proven through evidence like phone records, bank statements showing your spouse spent large amounts on a new friend, evidence of frequent hotel stays, or surveillance of your spouse caught in the act or being intimate with their new lover. Engaging in open adultery while married is actually a crime in Florida but is rarely, if ever prosecuted. Because adultery is difficult to prove, many people choose to file under no-fault divorce. However, if your spouse did dip into marital property or joint funds in an effort to dissipate property or to spend on a new relationship, the court does have the power to adjust the property award to address this grievance.
Adultery & Child Custody
Proving your spouse engaged in adulterous behavior may also have an impact on custody of your minor children. Judges will examine a party’s moral fitness when determining if both parties should share physical custody. Moral fitness is a factor that could affect the health, growth and development of a minor child. If the judge believes that due to the other party’s affair, he would taint the ethical development of the child, or if you can prove that the other party utilized funds allotted to the child to pay for his affair, the judge may rule that shared physical or legal custody is not appropriate. You must prove to the court that the affair had a substantial negative impact on the child for the court to be swayed. Generally it is best to keep these issues confidential if at all possible, but older children might ask questions or put two and two together about what their other parent has engaged in. You do not want to alienate the other parent but at the same time, you must be honest with your children.
Call the Tampa Family Law Attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A.
If you have finally decided you will no longer tolerate your spouse’s infidelity, then it is time to file for divorce. Coming to terms with the end of your marriage or partnership can be painful, emotionally wrenching, and private. Our Tampa family attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. understand the sensitive nature of divorce and adultery. We specialize in family law and work hard to find the best solution for our clients. Our attorneys are standing by to help you. Call today to schedule a consultation.