Divorce and Adultery

South Korea’s Constitutional Court revoked a law that imposed a penalty of up to two years in prison for adultery — but adulterous spouses are not allowed to divorce their spouses. What is the role of divorce and adultery in Florida.

South Korea’s New Law

The South Korean case concerned a 68-year-old plaintiff who left his wife and three children to move in with another woman 15 years ago. He was unable to arrange a divorce with his separated wife, so he sued to get one in 2011.

South Korean law states that the person responsible for a marriage’s failure isn’t permitted to file for divorce, though divorce settlements can be arranged with cooperating spouses.

Lower court decisions upheld this statute and dismissed Baek’s suit because he had conducted an extramarital affair, but he and his lawyers challenged its legitimacy.

South Korea is a conservative country that is still ironing out the legal parameters for marital infidels. The Constitutional Court’s decision to decriminalize adultery was based on the idea that a person’s right to pursue happiness includes the freedom to conduct a private sex life.

The sharp division of the court’s decision in the case, with seven justices ruling against six, suggests that the argument for freedom of choice in personal matters held considerable sway, but it was defeated out of concern for spousal and child welfare.

Divorce and Adultery

Adultery can be the cause of a divorce, but can it impact the outcome? This is a subject I’ve written about previously. After Florida became a no-fault state, the fact that, “he (or she) is sleeping with a co-worker” doesn’t hold much traction in court any more.

Anyone can file for divorce without proving any reason for it other than the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Or is it? When is adultery relevant in divorce?

In Florida divorce and adultery mix. 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 when adultery can potentially creep into your divorce:

Parenting Plans/Custody

Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes mentions that 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.

Equitable Distribution

Adultery may impact the division of property under Florida Statutes. 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.

In Florida, 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 opinions depending on the judges.

Back to South Korea

South Korea still has no law that provides for alimony or child support in divorce; divorce settlements generally provide for this assistance, if they are agreed upon.

If the court were to allow philandering husbands to divorce their wives outright, the court explained, this would potentially force many wronged women into financial difficulty.

Despite the election of Park Geun-hye as the country’s first female president two years ago, gender inequality persists in South Korea.

Data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that South Korea has the highest gender wage gap among the organization’s 33-member states, with a median wage disparity of 36.6% in favor of men.

South Korea criminalized adultery in 1953 to protect women at a time when they were generally reliant on their husbands financially and confined to domestic duties.

Divorce could leave them stigmatized and vulnerable, facing considerable difficulty in finding employment or a new spouse.

The adultery law was intended as a safeguard that granted women a measure of legal power over their husbands.

The article is here.