Tag: Divorce Adultery

Fault, Adultery, and Divorce

No-fault divorce has been a part of American law for decades. We forget that the law is not universal. In some countries you have to prove adultery or other fault to divorce. That’s the case in England but the law may change if a new bill passes Parliament.

Adultery DIvorce

Faulty Towers

Under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 in England and Wales, anyone seeking divorce must prove fault through adultery, desertion or unreasonable behavior.

If both sides agree, they can part after two years of separation. In the absence of consent or evidence of fault, applicants must wait until they have been living apart for five years.

Former Conservative British Member of Parliament and now  Secretary of State for Justice, David Gauke, wants to reform the law in England. So far, responses received by the Ministry of Justice showed widespread support for the initiative.

Florida No Fault Divorce

I’ve written about no fault divorce before. No-fault laws are the result of trying to change the way divorces played out in court. In Florida no fault laws have reduced the number of feuding couples who felt the need to resort to distorted facts, lies, and the need to focus the trial on who did what to whom.

Florida abolished fault as grounds for filing a divorce. Gone are the days when you had to prove adultery, desertion or unreasonable behavior as in England.

The only ground you need to file for divorce in Florida is to prove your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Additionally, the mental incapacity of one of the parties, where the party was adjudged incapacitated for the prior three year, is another avenue.

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

When is adultery relevant in divorce in Florida. Although we are a no-fault state, there is still a statutory basis for infidelity to be an issue in your divorce proceedings, but not as a reason for divorce.

Some people think no fault divorce is one of the main reasons for a high divorce rate. Despite the recent legislative moves in the UK, there is a movement here to return to the old “fault” system to promote families.

Fault Lines

Demands for change mounted after a case was decided last year; a case which I wrote about at the time. The English supreme court ruled last year that a woman could not divorce her husband until a period of five years had elapsed. The Labor Party in England has also supported changing the law, which has remained unaltered for nearly 50 years

No-fault divorce was first introduced by the Family Law Act of 1996, but its provisions were later deemed unworkable and it was repealed. It has been widely supported by prominent members of the judiciary, lawyers and relationship charities.

There should be no law in our society that traps one human being into being married to another when they long to be free of them. That is just another form of slavery.

The Independent article is here.

 

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.

Alimony

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.

 

Do you Divorce or Annul?

In a divorce fraud case from England, Neil Rattue was married for 15 years before he was found to have forged his divorce decree, and illegally married another woman. Do his two ‘wives’ file for divorce, or, like rats leaving a sinking ship, annul their marriages?

divorce or annul

Smell a Rat

Rattue invented a sickness, claiming he had “terminal cancer” to keep his double life hidden from both ‘wives”. The court in the UK heard a victim statement from his first wife, read out by the prosecutor, who said she felt like her husband had ‘stolen her life’ from her.

Why did he not ask me years ago for a divorce or when he met his new wife? Instead he was leading a double life. I have spent the last 19 years living with my mum as he left me with no other option. I am paying for this both mentally and emotionally. He has stolen my life from me.

Though he stopped seeing his first wife in 2001, he dutifully continued to call her daily for 17 years to ask how she was and discuss their debts, which she was paying off.

A court previously heard his first wife had paid off £30,000 of debt, from credit cards and loans taken out with Rattue, but still had a staggering £37,500 to be paid.

 Florida Divorce and Annulment

What if this took place in Florida? I’ve written about divorce and annulment in Florida before. Florida does not have a statute authorizing annulments. The decision to divorce or annul a marriage will depend on certain facts.

Annulment has a history beginning in England, and if King Henry VIII had been able to secure an annulment from the Pope, England might have remained a Catholic country. Today, annulment may best be known for rescuing Britney Spears from an ill-advised alcohol-related Las Vegas “bender.”

Because Florida is one of the handful of states that has no annulment statute, annulments in Florida are purely a question of common law, decided pursuant to the inherent equitable powers of the circuit court.

The historical common law “impediments” to marriage traditionally fell into two general categories: lack of consent and lack of capacity. This is substantially still the case law in Florida.

Lack of consent would include, for example, people who are related within certain degrees, and minors without parental consent.

Lack of capacity, is exactly the situation the Rattue wives are in. Lack of capacity includes marriages involving fraud, mental illness, sham marriages, and shotgun weddings.

While none of the “marriage” statutes in Florida specifically address purported marriages between one person and another person who is already legally married to a third party, bigamy is, of course, a crime. Bigamy raises the question: do you divorce or annul the marriage?

Whether to divorce or annul will depend on the legality of the marriages. Given that Rattue was never legal divorced, he forged his divorce decree, his second marriage would not likely be recognized in Florida.

This is not only a surprise for the first wife but can be devastating for the second wife. But, it also means his second wife would have to file for an annulment. His first wife, who was legally married, could file for divorce.

Ratatouille

According to the report:

The matter was not heard by a family court judge hearing whether to divorce or annul the marriage(s), but in criminal court. Judge Richard Parkes QC said Rattue had been ‘cowardly’ and ‘deceitful’ in maintaining his marriage to his first wife, despite having started a new marriage and raising children without his first wife even knowing.

Salisbury Crown Court, Wiltshire, heard how Rattue had met his first wife in Wiltshire in 1980 and they were married three years later. Rattue, who often worked away, then met his second wife while traveling.

The pair, who married on October 3, 1998, lived together in York, North Yorkshire, having two children together. Prosecutor Phillip Warren said Rattue had taken a friend’s divorce certificate without him knowing, before using it to forge his own.

Eighteen months ago, he would still phone me at work every day where he would ask me how I was. He still made me pay off all the money. He said we have got to stay married for the purpose of the loan and I believed him. Little did I know, it was because he had already forged our divorce certificate. This has been a prison sentence since 2001 when he left and stole my life from me.

The Mirror article is here.

 

Women Cheating and Divorce

Since 1990, the rate of married women who report they’ve been cheating on their spouses has increased by 40%, while the rate among men has remained the same. What is the impact of adultery and divorce?

The CNN Report

According to an article in CNN, more women than ever are cheating. What exactly is happening inside marriages to account for the closing gap between men and women and adultery?

According to the article, from a distance, the couples seemed happy enough, or at least content to be doing the family thing. They had cute kids, mortgages, busy social lives, matching sets of dishes.

On the surface, their husbands were reasonable, the marriages modern and equitable. If these women friends were angry unfulfilled or resentful, they didn’t show it.

Then one day, one of them confided in me she’d been having two overlapping affairs over the course of five years.

Almost before I’d finished processing this, another friend told me she was 100 percent faithful to her husband, except when she was out of town for work each month.

Often, they loved their husbands, but felt in some fundamental way that their needs (sexual, emotional, psychological) were not being met inside the marriage. Some even wondered if their husbands knew about their infidelity, choosing to look away.

Adultery and Divorce

I’ve written about the 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, “she (or he) 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?

However, 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 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.

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.

Alimony

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 the Study

These women from the CNN article were turning to adultery not as a way to explode a marriage, but as a way to stay in it. The women seemed in control of their own transgressions. There seemed to be something new about this approach.

Twenty or thirty years ago they might have opted for divorce, because surely there was another man out there who could do better in this role, who could satisfy them completely.

But a lot of these women are children of divorce. They lived through the difficulties divorce can create.

The CNN article is here.

 

Suing Your Spouse’s Lover

Historically, you could sue your cheating spouse’s lover. Although cheating comes up in divorce, suing your spouse’s lover is a different cause of action. In Florida, a man is now arguing that these laws violate his Constitutional right to engage in intimate sexual activity, speech, and expression with other consenting adults.

Alienation of Affection

American law used to recognize the tort of “alienation of affection” — causing a woman to lose affection for her husband and often to leave the husband because of the cheating lover.

The law also recognized the tort of “criminal conversation,” which basically consists of suing someone having adulterous sex with your spouse.

Many people think heart balm laws are dead. But a few states — Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, Florida, South Dakota and Utah — still recognize them.

In Florida, Marc and Amber were a married couple. Amber is a nurse. The Defendant, Derek, is a medical doctor at the hospital where Amber works.

In early 2015, Derek and Amber began a sexual relationship. Marc discovered Amber was cheating on him with Derek, and sued Derek for alienation of affection and criminal conversation.

Derek tried to dismiss Marc’s lawsuit on the ground that Florida’s common law causes of action for alienation of affection and criminal conversation are facially unconstitutional.

The trial court agreed with Derek, and granted his motion to dismiss. Marc appealed the decision.

Florida’s Heart Balm Statutes

I’ve written about heart balm statutes before, especially as they relate to engagement rings.

These common law torts are commonly referred to as “heart balm” statutes, because they permit the former lovers’ heartaches to heal without recourse to the courts.

The purpose of the heart balm statutes was originally to prevent the perpetration of fraud by litigants who would use the threat of a breach of promise of marriage to force defendants to make lucrative settlements in order to avoid embarrassing publicity.

The Florida heart balm statute, originally passed in 1941, abolishes common law actions for alienation of affections, criminal conversation, seduction, and breach of contract to marry.

The Florida Legislature found that those who break engagements may be “free of any wrongdoing … [and may be] merely the victims of circumstances.”

The preamble declares it to be Florida public policy that the best interests of the people of the state are served by the abolition of the breach of promise action.

Back to Florida

Surprisingly, the Florida appellate court reversed the trial court, and found that the statute was not unconstitutional:

Our holding is neither an endorsement nor a critique of these “heart balm” torts. Whether this Court believes these torts are good or bad policy is irrelevant; we cannot hold a law facially unconstitutional because it is bad policy.

These common law torts are facially valid. They further the State’s desire to protect a married couple’s vow of fidelity and to prevent the personal injury and societal harms that result when that vow is broken.

Simply put, these torts are intended to remedy harms that result when marriage vows are broken, not to punish intimate extra-marital speech or expression because of its content.

The Florida appellate court opinion is here.

 

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.

Alimony

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.

 

Adultery, No Fault and Interesting Reasons To Divorce

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Thursday, October 31, 2013.

Florida is a No Fault state for divorce. You don’t need a reason to divorce. Still, it is interesting to know why people divorce. A recent study out of the UK reveals some surprising reasons why people divorce, and adultery is a declining factor.

It appears that couples are less likely to cite adultery as the cause of a divorce than they were 40 years ago. However, claims of “unreasonable behavior” (a British term) have skyrocketed to more than 5 million divorce cases.

Unreasonable behavior include: making a spouse feel guilty for going out with her friends; a cross-dressing husband who decided to have a sex change; and a spouse withdrawing all the family savings and burning it in the bedroom.

The Guardian newspaper reports on a survey comparing the grounds for divorce in the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s as well as the present day.

In the 1970s, 29% of marriages ended because of adultery, the latest figures show only 15% of divorces were down to infidelity. In the 70s unreasonable behavior was cited in 28% of cases but it now accounts for almost half of all divorces (47%).

In the 1980s – the yuppie era – had the most adulterous break-ups – with nearly one in three (29%) of all divorces granted due to cheating on a partner. In the same decade, almost one in five divorces were down to the husband’s infidelity.

While you only need to allege an irretrievable break in the marriage to file for divorce in Florida, it is always interesting to see trends in divorces over time, even when they are from overseas.

The Guardian article can be read here.