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Can an affair have an impact on the terms of my divorce?

Divorce happens. Everyone is impacted by it; many choose it for their lives. As a Time piece notes, divorce has a place in American history. Today, it is common enough that it is a source of entertainment. The new HBO series, Divorce, is proof of that fact.

HBO buffs or Sarah Jessica Parker fans likely know about this new series that premiered earlier this month. It follows a couple whose 17-year marriage is ending. The first episode left off with the husband discovering that his wife, Parker, had an affair.

While the show is fictional, this kind of situation can and does play out in real life. The matter of adultery isn’t just entertaining scandal for television; it also can have an impact in a real-life Florida divorce. But how, and how much, can an affair play a role in your divorce?

Cheating isn’t necessary to prove in order for a divorce to be granted. No-fault divorces are the norm in most family law cases. Having to prove that one party did something specific to damage a marriage is no longer required as it was in the past. However, noting that an estranged spouse stepped outside of the marriage could change the terms of a divorce.

Florida Statute 61.08 reads, “The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.” What might this look like?

A lesser-earner whose spouse cheats on them might find favor with a court in terms of spousal support requests. If it was the lesser earner who is accused of cheating, they might find it harder to get the alimony amount they want. The higher-earner who didn’t cheat could be favored by the court.

Overall, the behavior of spouses during a marriage doesn’t make a significant difference in divorce unless, for example, someone’s actions impact the marital estate or hurt the children. As opposed to earlier times in American history, family laws generally reflect the reality that marriage is hard and spouses are human. Getting out of a marriage shouldn’t become a spectacle of criminalizing the other party.

If you have questions about how certain actions that occurred within your marriage might impact your divorce in Florida, don’t be afraid to have that honest conversation with a family law attorney whom you trust. This is your life, your family, your future. Ask the questions that you need to ask in order to feel good about moving forward.

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Tampa, FL 33609
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313 South Bungalow Park Avenue