How Does My Past Affect My Divorce Proceedings?

The past always comes back to haunt us. What is even more detrimental is when this happens during divorce proceedings. The following are events that may have taken place in your single or married life that will affect how your divorce turns out today. If you are considering filing for a divorce, keep these parts of your past in mind so you can be better prepared to handle it when your soon-to-be ex-spouse brings the skeletons from your closet to light.


Committing adultery can play a role in your divorce proceedings depending on the state that you live in. Florida is a “no fault” divorce state meaning the couple does not have to provide any other reason for divorce aside from the spouses don’t want to be married anymore. In a “no fault” state, the court is relieved of deciding who is at fault for the marriage ending. This rule not only helps the court, but it also protects all parties from having to talk about personal and painful marital issues in court.

Infidelity typically does not impact the distribution of assets. However, if the cheating spouse exposed their children to the inappropriate relationship or used marital assets to support the affair, those factors will be taken into account during divorce proceedings. Gifts, dinners, hotel rentals and car payments for the non-marital partner would all be considered as supporting the affair. Although infidelity may not directly influence the divorce proceeding, it can affect other cases that usually start with divorce like alimony, child custody and property division.

Filing for Bankruptcy

It may be a result of excessive spending or a business failing but many couples going through a divorce are also going through filing for bankruptcy. The question that always arises is whether bankruptcy should be filed before or after the divorce.

Generally, it works out best for both spouses to file for bankruptcy before divorce.

  • This way all debts will be addressed under one case instead of two making the process much simpler.

  • Filing for bankruptcy together can wipe out your joint debts and may be able to increase your exemption amounts.

  • If you do qualify for Chapter 7, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can eliminate unsecured debt, which also eliminates that argument over the debt during the divorce proceedings.

Immigration Status

People often fear that finalizing a divorce before a spouse has received permanent residency will disrupt their immigration status. More often than not, that isn’t the case. Spouses of US citizens are considered immediate relatives meaning the immigrant spouse gets priority over most people trying to receive a green card. There are instances where citizenship applications are denied without a US sponsor or spouse. If you are going through a divorce and your immigration status is still pending, you can file a waiver to be granted conditional permanent residency. As long as you have evidence of the following, your status should not be compromised.

  • Proof that the marriage was valid – photographs, evidence of shared property or leases, joint bills and other evidence of a shared life together.

  • Proof that the immigrant spouse will suffer extreme hardship if deported – statement about the life the immigrant spouse has built in the United States.

  • Proof of having suffered extreme cruelty or abuse from a US citizen spouse - sworn statements and affidavits from neighbors and family members.

Not Filing for Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement defines property division, alimony and child custody/support issues in the event of a divorce. If you and your spouse did not have a prenuptial agreement in place, the divorce proceedings are bound to end in lots of arguing and disagreeing over aspects of the marriage that could’ve been defined in the legal document.

Phone and Social Media Records

In a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Law, lawyers have seen an 81 percent increase in using social media as evidence in a divorce case. Applicable social media evidence could be:

  • Incriminating photos

  • Revealing status updates

  • Suspicious check-ins

  • Inappropriate comments and messages

In that same survey, lawyers admitted to seeing a 92 percent increase in using phone records as evidence in a divorce case, especially those divorce cases that are a result of one spouse committing adultery. Even if you have already deleted the text messages and call logs from your phone, you cannot delete this documentation on your phone bill.   

What You Should Know About Divorce in Florida

  • The official term for divorce is “dissolution of marriage.”

  • Florida cities make up four of the top 10 cities in the countries with the highest divorce rates. Panama City, Deltona, Palm Beach and Jacksonville are all on the list.

  • In order to file for divorce in Florida, you have to be a resident of the state for at least six months.

  • Both parties have to submit a sworn affidavit containing all of their financial information in order for the court to make informed decisions about alimony, child support and splitting marital assets.

If you are going through a divorce and are concerned about your past coming back to haunt you in the process, you need to seek legal protection. Contact us today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys and we’ll help you get through the proceedings.

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