Can A Cheating Spouse Be Punished By Florida Divorce Courts?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Sitting in my office, listening to potential divorce clients, it seems like no one is having sex within their marriage.  They are either sex deprived, or they or their spouse are cheating on the side.

To some extent, the Florida law protects cheaters, directing the “cheated upon” spouse to simply divorce the cheater.   That’s what is meant when we divorce lawyers say Florida is a “no fault” state.    However, the law does protect an innocent spouse from dissipation of marital assets.   What that means is if a cheater is spending significant sums of marital monies on the affair, that so called dissipation of marital assets can be considered in the financial scheme of the divorce.  There may be an unequal equitable distribution given in favor of the innocent spouse by the divorce court judge.

Case law defines significant sums as: buying a girl friend an expensive car, paying her rent, buying a condo for the paramour, taking numerous expensive vacations or shopping trips, all the usual but expensive trappings of keeping a lover.   A casual dinner out does not qualify.

If you suspect your spouse is the cheating kind, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb for more information.  We may want to put a private eye on your spouse and use that testimony and evidence in court to get you the better part of the marital estate.

Punishment Happens Sometimes In Florida Divorce Courts

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Since Florida is a no fault state, it is very unusual for a husband or wife  to be punished for bad behavior such as adultery, being verbally abusive,  or leaving the marital home.

But there are exceptions.  In the case of adultery, if substantial marital funds were spent on the boyfriend or girlfriend, such as buying him/her a new car or condo, this falls under dissipation of marital assets and the innocent spouse will get more than one half of the remaining assets to make up for the dissipation.   Same with spending marital money on gambling, drugs and excess spending.

The recourse for a verbally abusive spouse is divorce itself, so there is no punishment unless the abuse is physical; this then falls under domestic violence statutes and the wrongdoer can be prosecuted.

Abandoning the marital home is not punishable under Florida law, because a husband or wife does not lose their rights or liabilities to the marital home simply by living somewhere else. 

There is punishment under Florida law for willfully failing to obey court orders.  This is willful contempt of court and the wrongdoer can be sanctioned or jailed.  There is punishment also for running up an attorneys bill frivolously, and for frivolous litigation;  for failure to produce required documents in divorce cases; for causing opposing party to file motions to compel behavior;  for failure to appear at court hearings and depositions.

If you are not sure about your specific situation, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

Common Mistakes About Divorce In Florida.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Many people who are going through a divorce for the first time,  do not understand Florida law.   I get questions like the following:

1.  REGARDING JEWELRY: husbands and wives think that because a piece of jewelry is a gift given during the marriage,  the jewelry belongs exclusively to them.  Not true… it is marital.  This can make a big difference if the jewelry is substantial.

2.  REGARDING PUNISHMENT:  couples often think that the one who files for divorce, or the one who leaves the marriage,  is the one who will be “punished” by the court in terms of receiving less assets from the marriage.  Not true, because Florida is a no fault state.

3.  REGARDING ADULTERY:  same premise as above.  If your husband or wife is cheating on you, the only recourse you have is to divorce the cheater.

4.  REGARDING MOVING OUT OF THE MARITAL HOME:  Floridians do not lose their property rights by “abandoning” the marital home.  If you have sweat equity in the house, or your name is on the deed, or have any other marital interest, you have an entitlement to your property whether or not you live there.

5.  REGARDING NAME CHANGES: if you want your name restored, you should do it now during the divorce proceedings.  If you wait, you will have to pay another filing fee for a new case in the courthouse.

6.  REGARDING YOUR SPOUSE SUPPORTING YOU:  you don’t have to get a divorce to get your spouse to support you.  If you have the need and your spouse has the ability to pay, you can get support without divorce.

7.  REGARDING CHILD SUPPORT:  the statutory child support guidelines have not changed in a generation.  The Florida legislature really needs to address this.

8.  REGARDING RESIDENCY: you have to be a Florida resident for at least 6 months prior to filing for divorce.  That means having your “stuff” in the state, having a Florida driver’s license, owning property, or having a leasehold interest here.

If you are thinking about getting a divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.