Experienced Tampa divorce attorney helps you understand how infidelity is handled in this “no-fault” state
Hackers looking to shut down Ashley Madison, the popular site that helps married people seek out affairs, released 37 million email addresses to the public in August — and a whole lot of people were busted for cheating or for trying to cheat, including many celebrities and politicians. Not surprisingly, divorce firms all over the country have received a sudden influx of calls.
Florida is one of many “no-fault” states when it comes to divorce, meaning that couples do not have to provide a reason for ending the marriage other than that it is “irretrievably broken.” Neither party has to prove the guilt of the other in order to get the divorce. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if one person was unfaithful to the other — at least in the eyes of the court.
However, Florida law specifically states that adultery may be considered when awarding alimony (if any). This has historically created a tricky situation for courts since adultery is otherwise not supposed to be considered in the division of marital assets.
Here are a few other ways that discovering your spouse has cheated might affect your divorce settlement:
- “Marital waste.” Though you may not be granted a greater share of your marital assets because your spouse cheated, you may be entitled to compensation for anything that the affair took out of your joint finances. For example, if your spouse paid for hotel rooms, gave the other person expensive gifts, or even paid for an apartment for the other person, you may get half of those costs added to your divorce settlement. These expenses are known as “marital waste,” and they can be discovered through forensic analysis of your finances.
- Child custody. Though adultery cannot be used in deciding custody cases, it may be used to show the moral fitness of your former spouse, which can influence custody decisions. For example, if you can show that your former spouse exposed your child to inappropriate situations related to the affair or engaged in dangerous behavior, that might swing a child custody decision in your favor.
- If your spouse was caught cheating, he or she may be feeling very guilty and may be motivated to make amends by granting more assets in the divorce settlement or to settle more quickly. Being the innocent party may grant you a lot of power on a personal level in the divorce proceedings.
Divorce is never easy, whether you are talking about the personal toll it takes or the complex division of marital assets and child custody. Discovering that your spouse has cheated (or even just tried to cheat) makes the situation even worse.
Mark G. Rodriguez is an experienced Tampa divorce attorney who helps you navigate this process while fighting for a full and fair settlement on your behalf. He helps you explore every possible bargaining point to get the best settlement to protect you and your children’s future.
Call the Law Office of Mark G. Rodriguez today at (813) 227-9642 or use our secure online form to schedule a consultation. The sooner you act, the sooner you can start your new future.