Marital Misconduct and How It Can Affect Your Florida Divorce

Even though Florida is a state which operates under no-fault rules for divorce, this doesn’t mean that a spouse who engages in behaviors which affect the other spouse may not be required to account for the misconduct in some way during the divorce. Florida requires only that a spouse claim there are irreconcilable differences in order to obtain a divorce or, if one spouse has suffered from mental incapacitation for a period of three years prior to the divorce filing, this may also be used as grounds for divorce.

In order to claim mental incapacitation, at least two mental health specialists must testify there is no hope of recovery from the mental illness. Because the filing spouse may simply claim irreconcilable differences, there are few times when mental incapacity is used as grounds for a divorce. The attorneys at The Law Place can assist you in determining whether you should attempt to claim fault when filing for divorce or simply file under irreconcilable differences. Our attorneys are well-versed in Florida divorce law and will help you make the best decisions for your future.

Does Florida Require That the Filing Spouse Claim Fault?

While the State of Florida doesn’t require the filing spouse to prove fault in order to divorce, grounds may still factor into the divorce. You can request a limited divorce, claiming grounds of cruelty, desertion or voluntary separation. Adultery and any circumstances surrounding the adulterous behavior may be taken into account by the judge when deciding whether to award spousal support. Some types of criminal behavior may also factor into the divorce and have a negative impact on custody and possibly even asset distribution should it be found that the misconduct led to dissipation of assets. In the end, each divorce is fact-specific and the judge may weigh marital misconduct, particularly economic misconduct.

What is Economic Misconduct?

The spouse who engages in economic misconduct has, in some way, misspent marital assets during the two years prior to the filing of the divorce. This could be done through: 1) dissipation of marital assets, 2) hiding or concealing marital assets, 3) diverting marital or community assets in order to engage in an extramarital affair, 4) diverting marital or community assets in order to pay for an addiction, 5) any type of excessive or abnormal spending, 6) destruction of marital property, 7) fraudulently selling or conveying marital property or 8) any other unfair conduct which prevents the court from making a fair division of marital assets.

Other Forms of Marital Misconduct

By its very nature, marital misconduct must cover behaviors which occurred prior to the end of the marriage, and that misconduct must have resulted in one spouse suffering a considerable emotional, financial or physical burden. While Florida is a no-fault state, there are several broad categories of behavior which could be classified as marital misconduct, including:

• Alcohol or drug addiction
• Extramarital affairs
• Domestic violence
• Cruel behavior directed toward the other spouse

When the judge in your divorce is determining how much weight to give to adultery, the length of the marriage, the specific nature of the adultery, the time period during the marriage in which the adultery occurred and whether the adultery was continuous will all be taken into consideration.

The Family Law Place Attorneys Can Help You Through Your Divorce

If you believe adultery or economic misconduct was a factor during your marriage and this transgression had an impact on your shared marital assets, you should discuss these issues with your attorney from The Law Place. Our attorneys have spent many years helping people just like you, who are going through a challenging divorce. We will listen to your issues, offering trustworthy guidance on how claiming marital misconduct would be beneficial in your particular situation.

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