No Fault Does Not Mean No Consequences

- Gary E. Williams

In no-fault divorce states like Florida, many people wrongly assume that their past behavior will not come back to haunt them during their divorce settlement. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Just what does no-fault mean?

The phrase “no-fault divorce” means that neither spouse is required to prove misconduct on the part of the other in order to file for divorce. No-fault divorce states allow the termination of a marriage based solely on assertions of incompatibility or irreconcilable differences.

Consequences of misconduct

But just because you file for divorce in a no-fault state, that does not mean all of your marital misdeeds are wiped off the slate. You may not be required to prove misconduct to file for divorce, but family law certainly allows for its consideration, and it may affect the outcome of your divorce in several ways.

Marital misconduct legally encompasses any conduct that undermines your marriage. It may include, but is by no means limited to:

  • Adultery
  • Domestic violence or spousal abuse
  • Addictions
  • Economic fault

These behaviors are not considered in a divorce to punish the wrongdoer, but to ensure the victimized spouse is fairly compensated for suffering and damages incurred during the marriage. If the victimized spouse was forced to contribute more to the marriage while it existed, it is only fair that they should be compensated additionally once the marriage ends.

If both spouses are guilty of marital misconduct, the court can choose to call the ledger even, and disregard all instances of marital misconduct when considering the divorce agreement. Contact us at (727) 531-8737 to schedule your free initial consultation.