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Does Cheating Impact Alimony in Florida?

Serving Families Throughout Jacksonville

Alimony (what some states call “spousal support”) is monthly payments that a higher-earning spouse pays to a lower-earning spouse during or after a divorce or both. In Florida, there are different types of alimony, including temporary alimony, bridge the gap alimony, rehabilitation alimony, lump sum alimony, and permanent periodic alimony.

Contrary to popular belief, alimony is not awarded automatically in a Florida divorce. It is very fact-specific and much of it has to do with the economically weaker spouse’s need for it, and the higher-earning spouse’s ability to pay it. This is often referred to as “need and ability to pay.”

If the court determines that one party needs alimony and the other spouse can pay it, the court shall consider the following factors:

  • The length of the couple’s marriage.
  • The standard of living that was established during the marriage.
  • The age and health of each spouse.
  • Each spouse’s financial resources.
  • Each spouse’s education and earning capacity.
  • All sources of income available to each party.
  • Each party’s responsibilities toward any children they have together.

But what about marital misconduct, namely adultery? If a spouse is asking for alimony and he or she cheated, will the adultery bar them from receiving alimony?

Impact of Cheating on Alimony

Under Section 61.08, alimony, of the Florida Statutes, it 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.”

If you notice, the law says the courts “may” consider adultery when determining the amount of alimony, that is if it’s awarded. While the courts may consider adultery, it’s not guaranteed that a spouse will be denied alimony because he or she cheated, but it remains a possibility. Usually, a court will increase an innocent spouse’s alimony if the cheating spouse’s conduct ultimately increased the wronged spouse’s financial needs.

Have further questions about adultery and its effect on alimony in Florida? Contact The Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A. for a free consultation. **Consultation fees may apply to family law consultations.