Adultery and a Stormy Divorce

Divorces can be stormy affairs. Add in a cheating spouse, and the skies can open up. The husband of adult film star, and recent political media sensation, Stormy Daniels, just filed for divorce in Texas. The reason may shock you: adultery!

Adultery Divorce

Storming Out

Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has become a media sensation of late, after she claimed she had sex with Donald Trump before he became president, something Trump has denied.

Glendon Crain filed the petition for divorce on July 18 in state district court in Kaufman County, located just southeast of Dallas.

In his 13-page divorce petition, Crain alleged adultery as grounds for the divorce and seeks sole custody of the couple’s daughter, child support from Clifford, a financial award, and disproportionate share of the couple’s property.

Cheating and Divorce

I’ve written about divorce and cheating before. Adultery can be the cause of a divorce, but can it impact the outcome? Since Florida became a no-fault state, the fact that, Stormy had a fling with Trump would not be a thunderbolt in court.

While anyone can file for divorce without proving grounds, there is still a statutory basis for infidelity to be an issue in your divorce proceedings, but not in the way most people think. Here’s a quick review of why adultery can potentially creep into your divorce:

Equitable Distribution

Adultery may impact the division of property. Florida is an equitable distribution state, and it is presumed that property should be evenly divided.

This presumption may be overcome by proof that one spouse intentionally wasted marital assets.

This waste is sometimes known as dissipation. Paying for expensive jewelry, foreign trips, rent, car payments, and dinners for girlfriends and boyfriends is considered wasting marital assets. The court has the power to reduce an adulterer’s equitable distribution to credit the marital estate for waste.


Florida law specifically provides that a court may consider the adultery of either spouse in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. However, courts have struggled to reconcile the “fault” of adultery with the concept of “no fault” divorce. The result is a mix of weak opinions.

Parenting Plans/Custody

Chapter 61 discusses the “the moral fitness of the parents” as one of the factors the court considers in determining the best interests of a child.

So, if one parent can prove that the other parent’s adultery had, or is reasonably likely to have, an adverse impact on the child, the judge can consider adultery in evaluating what’s in the best interest of the child. However, it would be extreme if a custody issue was decided on those grounds.

Weathering the Storm

Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti said the “accuracy” of the divorce petition is “vehemently disputed.” Crain and Daniels married in 2015 and were living together until about two weeks ago, according to the petition.

After Daniels alleged she had sex with Trump in 2006, prosecutors have been examining a $130,000 payment that was made to Daniels as part of a confidentiality agreement days before the 2016 presidential election.

The NBC news article is here.