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How does adultery affect alimony decisions?

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2023 | Alimony |

Realistic or not, two people enter into marriage believing it to be a life-long commitment. Unfortunately, whether they simply grow apart or outside factors tug at their matrimonial threads, it is not uncommon for a marriage to end early. When infidelity is the cause, however, it can lead to dramatic changes in the outcome of the divorce process.

In Florida, marital misconduct does not affect the ability to obtain a divorce, but it may affect the court’s decision when deciding on alimony.

The court may consider it

While each case is different, the court considers several factors in deciding whether to award spousal support and how much to award. Most of the factors focus on the financial capacity of each spouse to sustain themselves after the divorce. However, the wronged spouse may bring a valid claim of adultery into evidence and the court may take it into account when deciding the amount of alimony.

Marital misconduct that is financially detrimental

Does it matter how much the cheating spouse spent from the marital assets? It does. The court especially considers infidelity when the unfaithful spouse misspends marital funds to support their adulterous relationship to the point of it being financially harmful to the spouses’ shared assets. This is because the assets could have benefited the family and marriage but were instead used for non-marital purposes. The court may increase the wronged spouse’s alimony if they successfully prove the adultery.

What constitutes misspending of marital funds? This may be in the form of buying expensive gifts, going on extravagant trips or paying for their affair partner’s residence.

Burden of proof

The spouse alleging the unfaithfulness of the other must prove it to the court for them to consider it in the final alimony decision. Obtaining financial documentation showing the withdrawal and use of marital funds is a good start.