How does adultery affect alimony in a no fault divorce?
Marital Misconduct and Alimony
Florida is one of the states in which marital misconduct may have an effect on the amount of spousal support a spouse receives or has to pay.
Marital misconduct may be brought to the judge’s attention either in the beginning (in the petition for the dissolution of the marriage) or as a claim to alimony and awarding of property. When within the petition for dissolution of marriage, the marital misconduct needs to be included in the paragraph stating the marriage is irretrievably broken.
After professional and ethical consideration, and assuming there is admissible evidence to support the claim, the accused spouse should be notified.
Under F.S. 61.08, the only “fault” explicitly mentioned as a component for determining alimony is adultery in a no-fault divorce. However, adultery is not the primary deciding factor and offers no guarantees. The statute rather allows the court to use discretion when considering adultery and establishing whether a monetary award should be granted and the amount of said award.
Alimony cannot be awarded or withheld simply on the basis of punishing an adulterous spouse. The Florida Supreme Court ruled “the primary standards used in fashioning an equitable alimony award are the needs of one spouse and the ability of the other to pay” Noah v. Noah, 491 So.2d 1124, 1127 (Fla. 1986). In order for adultery to be considered, the misconduct must have lead to depletion of marital property. The unfaithfulness of either spouse does not take precedence over financial need and ability to pay.