What Is Considered Adultery in Florida?

What Is Considered Adultery in Florida?

Adultery is usually considered voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone the person isn’t married to. Technically, adultery is a crime in Florida, but it’s very rarely prosecuted.

When it comes to seeking a Florida divorce due to adultery, spouses don’t need to prove their partners were having an affair. To file for divorce, Florida residents need not provide a specific reason or prove wrongdoing. And Florida judges aren’t interested in figuring out who is at fault, they focus on dividing marital property and providing the best outcome for children as possible.

However, details of an affair can affect how assets are divided and who children will live with.

Is Adultery a Crime in Florida?

Adultery is a crime according to Florida state law although, under most circumstances, it isn’t enforced.

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 798.01. is written:

“Whoever lives in an open state of adultery shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083…”

The next section mentions “open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior” as reasons someone might be charged with a crime.

In cases where the adultery laws are enforced, a married person found guilty of sleeping with someone other than a spouse could face up to 60 days in prison and/or a fine. A person who isn’t married, but sleeping with someone who is, couldn’t be charged with the crime of adultery. Only the married person would be charged.

Obviously, it’s a law that would be impossible to enforce on every violator. It’s rarely prosecuted, but an illicit affair can affect you and your wellbeing if it leads to divorce.

How Will Adultery Affect My Divorce?

Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state. It means that couples don’t need to declare any reason why they are filing for divorce other than the union is “irretrievably broken.” A spouse doesn’t need to bring up infidelity or prove that an affair occurred to be eligible for divorce.

Couples can file for divorce at almost any time for any reason. However, if an affair is proven, that indiscretion can influence how a divorce is settled.

A judge can look at the cheating spouses’ finances and spending to determine how assets should be divided and if alimony is necessary. If a spouse spent a lot of money maintaining a relationship outside of marriage, the judge could repay the other partner for those funds used in an affair. That can include the expense of hotels, costly vacations, and pricey gifts.

Florida courts might also see the money spent on a girlfriend or boyfriend and conclude that a cheating husband or wife can afford to pay spousal support to the wronged party.

And finally, a parent who engages in an irresponsible affair could be viewed as an unfit parent. When a parent seems focused on engaging in an active dating life, a judge might conclude that the home life of any child living with the parent would be unstable. A judge may assign custody to the faithful spouse.

Don’t Leave Your Tampa Area Divorce to Chance

An affair that leads to divorce is an unfortunate outcome. A judge can consider many circumstances when determining the terms of divorce. They are human and sometimes they get it right and sometimes they get it wrong. It’s critical to seek the help of a divorce attorney who can make sure the court gets the full story so a judge can make an informed and fair decision.

Robert Sparks Attorneys provides strong legal protection for those going through a divorce in the greater Tampa area. Contact Robert Sparks Attorneys to schedule a divorce consultation when you have questions about how an affair may affect the terms of your divorce.