Adultery Laws in Florida: is it illegal? Adultery, one of the worst nightmares of every married person, has the potential to shake the sacred foundation of marriage.
No one can bear the cruel truth that their partner is cheating on them and breaking their marital commitments.
As living with an unfaithful partner is most painful and heartbreaking, marriages survive these painful journeys.
Many states forbid and consider adultery a crime on both moral and legal grounds. It invites several consequences considering the state laws.
If you or your partner has committed adultery, you might wonder about the legal consequences of adultery under your state law.
In this article, we will specifically discuss adultery under Florida laws.
Is adultery prohibited in Florida, or is your spouse free to live in an open state of adultery? Does this have any bearing on your divorce case?
Let’s look at the meaning and the legal consequences of adultery under Florida law.
What does adultery denote under Florida law?
Under Florida law, adultery is not expressly defined anywhere.
However, in legal language, adultery is defined as cheating in which a married man or woman breaks the marital vows and gets involved in sexual relations with another person not being their legally wedded partner.
In simple words, voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone not being their legally wedded spouse is called adultery.
The essential ingredient that qualifies the relationship as adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse. Without sexual intercourse, the act is not considered adultery. Thus it becomes hard to establish and prove adultery.
Although adultery is not expressly defined, under Florida law, adultery is forbidden and punished as a second-degree misdemeanour.
Is adultery illegal under Florida law
Typically there are two types of crime-
A Felony is a term used for a serious offense like murder, robbery, and dacoity. The punishment for a Felony varies between 2 years to life imprisonment with or without a fine.
On the other hand, a misdemeanour is a term used to denote petty or minor offences. The punishment for misdemeanour varies from 1 month to 2 years imprisonment with or without a fine.
Like most states, adultery is illegal in Florida. According to Fla. Stat. Ann. § 798.01, whoever commits adultery will get charged with a second-degree misdemeanour and liable to get punishment prescribed under S. 775.082 or S. 775.083.
Thus an act of adultery is considered a second-degree misdemeanour under Florida law. Although adultery gets reckoned as a crime in Florida law books, it rarely gets prosecuted.
However, it is still a crime under the Florida law books.
Can you go to jail for committing adultery in Florida
Adultery is considered a crime on social, moral, religious, and legal grounds as it undermines the sacred foundation of marriage. Like most states, Florida also forbids the practice of adultery.
Adultery is considered a second-degree misdemeanour under Fla. Stat. Ann. § 798.01.
According to these sections, any person living in an open state of adultery can get charged with a second-degree misdemeanour and liable for punishment provided under S. 775.082 or S. 775.083, respectively. A second-degree misdemeanour prescribes a penalty of up to 60 in jail and a fine of up to 500$.
Further, it states that if either of the parties living in an adulterous relationship is married, both parties will get charged and punished for adultery.
Thus, if both parties; living in an adulterous relationship are married, they are considered guilty and liable for the same punishment.
Although punishment for the offence of adultery has been enumerated in the Florida law books, it rarely gets charged and prosecuted.
Thus even if your partner has committed adultery, they won’t get jailed easily. The penalties and punishments are only in the books and rarely implemented in actual scenarios.
Does adultery have any impact on divorce cases in Florida?
Under old Florida law, adultery was considered a legal basis for divorce, but now the law regarding divorce has changed completely.
Like many states, Florida has also adopted the no-fault divorce policy, which means a divorce gets finalised; without proving the blame or fault of either party. They only need to show that the parties to the marriage are not compatible with each other.
The courts do not require them to show the cause or prove the fault of either party to seek a divorce decree.
Although a person need not prove adultery to seek a divorce, it greatly affects the decisions of the court; during the divorce process.
During the divorce trial, there are three essential matters the court deals with on which adultery has a potential impact. They are:
- Division of property
- Custody determination
Whether an adulterous relationship will affect any of the listed factors or not often depends on the true nature of the act and other circumstances.
Thus, adultery may not directly impact divorce cases, but it can get considered when deciding other factors involved in the divorce petition.
For instance, the court may allow a large share of the marital estate to the betrayed spouse and a smaller share to the adulterer.
The court may ask the wrongdoer to pay additional alimony to the other party.
The court may consider adultery as a factor while deciding the “moral fitness” of the parties for child custody.
Wrapping up: Adultery Laws in Florida: is it illegal?
Adultery is a taboo and a great sin that makes everyone’s life miserable, even the person who commits adultery. But proving adultery is not an easy task.
You will need to provide evidence to support your claim and make the adulterer pay for their deeds. The result won’t be as expected, but it can benefit you during the divorce process for several factors.
Read also: Can you go to jail for infidelity in Florida?; Does adultery affect divorce in Florida?; Adultery in Florida: all you need to know; Which Countries are Adultery illegal?; States Where Adultery is Illegal in US