Adultery Laws in Florida: Does it Affect Divorce?

Florida is a no-fault divorce state. Therefore a party seeking divorce does not have to allege a fault to have the marriage dissolved. This includes adultery. A party must only assert that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that the other spouse has become mentally incapacitated.

Although adultery does not affect the general filing of a divorce, it may impact issues of child custody, marital property division and spousal support. Regarding child custody, the courts consider what is best for the child. A parent's moral fitness is a factor in determining whether a parent is granted physical custody or not.

Florida is an equitable distribution state where the presumption is that marital property should be evenly divided. However, if it is shown that one spouse wasted marital assets in an adulterous relationship, the court may seek to compensate the injured party for the waste of assets.

Spousal support to the injured spouse may be increased if it is shown that the adulterous conduct increased the spouse's monetary needs. 

Current Florida Statutes

Florida's statutes specifically provide:

61.052  Dissolution of marriage.

(1)  No judgment of dissolution of marriage shall be granted unless one of the following facts appears, which shall be pleaded generally:

(a)  The marriage is irretrievably broken.

(b)  Mental incapacity of one of the parties. However, no dissolution shall be allowed unless the party alleged to be incapacitated shall have been adjudged incapacitated according to the provisions of s. 744.331 for a preceding period of at least 3 years.

61.08 Alimony.

(1) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may grant alimony to either party, which alimony may be rehabilitative or permanent in nature. In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments or payments in lump sum or both. The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. In all dissolution actions, the court shall include findings of fact relative to the factors enumerated in subsection (2) supporting an award or denial of alimony.

61.13(3) Best Interest of the Child.

When awarding child custody in Florida, the court will consider all factors affecting the welfare and interests of the child, including but not limited to:

a. The parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the non-custodial parent.

b. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and the child.

c. The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs.

d. The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

e. The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.

f. The moral fitness of the parents.

g. The mental and physical health of the parents.

h. The home, school, and community record of the child.

i. The reasonable preference of the child as to custody, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.

j. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuous parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.

k. Evidence that any party has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding a domestic violence proceeding.

l. Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse.

m. Any other fact not specifically expressed in these laws that the court considers to be relevant.

Find an Attorney

If you reside in Florida, you may file for a divorce without alleging adultery. However, adultery in the marriage may affect child custody issues as well as spousal support. Talk with an experienced divorce attorney to further discuss adultery laws in Florida.

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