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Does an Affair Affect Who Gets Child Custody?

Florida is a no-fault divorce state. This means that the couple does not need a reason or to put fault on one spouse to get a divorce. All the couple needs to do is state that the marriage is broken beyond repair and they can proceed with the divorce. The state of Florida courts attempts to be as equal as possible when handling a divorce, but there are some exceptions that may cause a judge to “side” with one spouse or the other. One of those exceptions is adultery. Adultery can actually have an impact on how child custody is divided, and can limit the cheating spouse’s custody or visitation.

Determining child custody in a Florida divorce

Florida courts use one main thing in determining child custody in a divorce, and that is what is in the best interest of the child. There are a number of different factors they take into consideration when determining what is actually in the best interest of the child. These factors include:

man holding baby in arms

Photo by Josh Willink

  • The child’s health and safety

  • The child’s emotional and developmental needs

  • Each parent’s moral fitness

  • Who has acted as the primary caregiver for the child. If either parent has, the court may be more likely to award primary custody to that parent, so as to avoid an interruption in the child’s routine.

  • Which parent, if any, is most willing to facilitate the possibility that the child may maintain a relationship with the other parent, the extended families on both sides, and the community where the child grew up.

  • The ability of each respective parent to provide a safe, supportive, loving and nurturing environment for the child.

How an affair can affect child custody

If one spouse committed adultery, it could affect how the judge determines their moral fitness as a parent. If the faithful spouse can prove the adulterous spouse is reasonably likely to have a negative impact on their child, the judge can limit that parent’s custody or visitation.

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