There are various reasons why a spouse may decide to file for divorce; oftentimes, those reasons include a lack of communication, financial problems, familial problems, different priorities, or the infidelity of one of the spouses, but the question remains, do any of these reasons, with emphasis on infidelity, affect the division of marital property upon divorce here in the State of Florida?
Two types of divorce
Let’s begin by examining the current law. There are two grounds for divorce in the State of Florida:
- The irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
- The mental incapacity of one of the spouses.
The irretrievable breakdown of marriage is
“The situation that exists when either or both spouses no longer are able or willing to live with each other, thereby destroying their Husband and Wife relationship with no hope of resumption of spousal duties.”
The Free Dictionary.
Under this type of divorce, one spouse’s infidelity does not guarantee their rights to receive a share of the marital property, alimony, child support or child custody.
Adultery and the distribution of marital property
When dividing marital property, the court takes many factors into consideration, and the infidelity of one of the spouses may be a component. Adultery can have an impact on the division of the marital estate depending on the nature of the adulterous relationship. One scenario where a spouse will receive martial property if the other spouse who committed adultery, spent large amounts of money buying his or her lover expensive gifts or is monetarily supporting such person to the detriment of the other spouse. A court may award the injured party a greater share of the marital property as compensation for the squandering of such property.
In sum, although there is no established law in Florida affecting an adulterous party’s rights to marital property, adultery is a behavior that can have a serious impact on the court’s decision regarding the division of marital assets. If the court finds that the adulterous relationship caused financial harm to the other spouse, the court may reduce the adulterer’s share of marital assets to compensate the other spouse for this waste.