How Does Fault Affect My Jacksonville, Florida Divorce?

So often I hear the same questions in my family law practice in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida. One of those recurring questions is how does my wife or husband’s affair or marital misconduct affect the divorce proceedings? Will he or she be punished for cheating on me and this marriage? While that issue is quite emotional and understandably the slighted spouse wants some vindication in court, in counties like Duval, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns as well as other Florida counties, fault just doesn’t matter. Florida is considered a “no fault” divorce state. As such, a spouse could have 100 affairs and it won’t matter to a judge in Florida. It simply is not relevant. We can, however, attack marital misconduct financially. If your spouse spent marital funds in the furtherance of the affair, then the Florida courts allow for an unequal distribution of assets and debts to make up for the money spent on the affair. There are other areas in which marital misconduct may be relevant in a divorce proceeding including the determination of alimony. But don’t expect the courts to vindicate you by “punishing” your spouse for marital misconduct. It simply won’t happen in Florida. Do you think this is good law in Florida or do you think a spouse should be held legally accountable for marital misconduct? I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any questions about the divorce process please call our firm at 904-355-8888.

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