Does Cheating Affect Alimony in Florida?

Every state has its own way of handling adultery in a divorce. Some states, such as California, have little to no interest in marital misconduct unless it involved domestic violence or the wasteful dissipation of marital assets; for example, a cheating husband using marital assets to take his girlfriend on a lavish vacation. Other states are interested in hearing about an affair and may use it as ammunition to deny a cheating spouse alimony. So, where does Florida stand on the issue of infidelity?

In the state of Florida, it is a misdemeanor of the second degree to be "living in open adultery." Florida is a no-fault state, meaning spouses file for divorce based on no-fault grounds because their marriage is “irretrievably broken.” However, the state will consider adulterous behavior while deciding if alimony will be awarded or not.

Alimony Under Florida Law

Alimony refers to the financial support a higher-earning spouse pays to a lower-earning spouse in a divorce proceeding. In Florida, there are four types of alimony: 1) bridge-the-gap, 2) rehabilitative, 3) durational, and 4) permanent.

Under Section 61.08 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. 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.”

Is Alimony Guaranteed?

Alimony is not automatic in all Florida divorces. If one spouse is asking for alimony, the court will take a look at the lower-earning spouse’s need for it, and the higher-earning spouse’s ability to pay it. When deciding whether or not to award alimony, the court will look at a number of factors, such as:

  1. Duration of the marriage
  2. Health and age of each spouse
  3. Each spouse’s income and assets
  4. Each spouse’s education and earning capacity
  5. A spouse’s contribution as a homemaker

If your marriage has been impacted by infidelity and you have questions about alimony, we invite you to contact Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. to schedule a consultation with one of our Clearwater family law attorneys.