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Marital and Family Law Attorney

Fault-Based Divorce

Miami Divorce Attorneys Helping People Protect Their Rights

When marriages fall apart, people are often quick to assign blame. Simply because one party caused the demise of a relationship does not always mean it is prudent to assign fault in a divorce. While most Florida divorce actions allege irreconcilable difference led to the request for dissolution, there are some circumstances that allow people to seek a fault-based divorce. Additionally, certain behaviors that lead a party to seek a divorce may impact matters such as child custody, property distribution, and alimony. If you are contemplating ending your marriage or received legal papers instituting a divorce from your spouse, you should speak to an attorney about your rights. Sandy T. Fox is a Miami divorce attorney who can develop a plan designed to help you seek the best result possible under the facts of your case, and if you hire him, he will advocate aggressively on your behalf. Mr. Fox regularly represents people in divorce matters and is a Florida Bar Board Certified specialist in Marital & Family Laws.

Grounds for Seeking Divorce in Florida

Generally speaking, Florida is a no-fault divorce state, but the law does allow for a fault-based divorce in the event a party becomes mentally ill. Specifically, the statute pertaining to divorces states that a judgment of dissolution will only be granted in cases in which the petitioner alleges that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that one party is mentally incapacitated. As such, assertions that one spouse suffers from mental infirmities provide an exception to the general rule that Florida divorces are no-fault. In order to obtain a dissolution based on incapacitation, the allegedly infirm spouse must have been determined to be ill for at least three years. Even if a court grants a divorce on the basis of incapacity, however, it may nonetheless require the petitioner to pay alimony to the incapacitated spouse. Notably, the law does not permit parties to assert imprisonment, adultery, abandonment, cruelty, or any other behavior as grounds for seeking a divorce.

Impact of Wrongful Behavior on Florida Divorces

Although Florida only allows parties to petition for dissolution of their marriages due to mental incapacity or an irreparable collapse, that does not mean that the courts do not consider wrongful behavior when determining how to resolve pertinent issues. For example, if one spouse commits adultery during the marriage, it may impact whether alimony is awarded. In other words, the law states that the court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances surrounding the affair in evaluating whether alimony should be granted and, if so, in what amount.

Similarly, while the law does not specifically express that a court may consider adultery when determining how marital assets should be divided, it does allow the court to weigh any other factors required to provide justice and equity between the parties. Thus, many courts consider a party’s adultery in evaluating what constitutes a fair division of property. Under this provision, a court may also consider whether either party engaged in verbal or physical abuse during the marriage or abandoned his or her spouse. Additionally, adultery, abuse, and other destructive acts may impact custody in cases involving children as well, as the statute pertaining to child custody in Florida advises that the courts can consider the moral fitness of the parents. While moral fitness is not defined, any behavior that is deemed immoral may be grounds for limiting or denying a parent’s right to visitation or custody.

Meet with a Capable Miami Divorce Attorney

When a marriage ends, it is a natural inclination to want to assign blame, but most people in Florida do not pursue fault-based divorces. Adultery, abuse, and other damaging behavior can impact many aspects of divorce actions, though, even in no-fault cases. If you or your spouse want to end your marriage, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., our capable Miami divorce lawyers possess the skills and experience needed to help you seek a just resolution, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. Our office is located in Aventura, and we regularly assist people with family law issues in Miami. You can reach us through our form online or at 800.596.0579 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.