How is adultery proved and what type of evidence of adultery can be admitted in court?
I’m worried that my cheating will be punishable not only as a crime, but also detrimental to my divorce case. So what are the repercussions of committing adultery?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Maryland divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
In some states, adultery is considered a fault ground for divorce. Technically, adultery is a crime in some jurisdictions, although it is almost never prosecuted. For instance, where I practice, adultery is punishable by a small monetary fine of $10.
Generally, the consequences of adultery are evident in divorce cases. In my jurisdiction, if no fault grounds for divorce are present, the parties must be separated and living apart more than a year without interruption before filing for an Absolute Divorce. However, if adultery can be proven, the complainant may file for an Absolute Divorce prior to the one-year separation period.
To prove adultery, the complainant must show both disposition and opportunity. The burden of proof is on the complainant to prove adultery. Mere accusations will not be sufficient to obtain a divorce on the grounds of adultery.
An adulterous disposition may be demonstrated through public displays of affection such as kissing, hugging, and hand holding between the defendant and the paramour.
Opportunity to commit adultery can be demonstrated through various circumstances. For example, the complainant may argue that the defendant had an opportunity to commit adultery when he was seen entering his paramour’s residence at midnight and leaving at 5 a.m.
Because acts of adultery are typically conducted in private settings, the court will permit the complainant to provide proof of adultery by circumstantial inference or presumption. However, it is absolutely necessary that both disposition and opportunity be proven, as mere suspicion will not be enough to prove adultery.
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Generally, proving adultery is a difficult task because the proof necessary for a successful adultery claim must be corroborated.
If adultery is proven, it may impact the court’s determination of issues involving alimony, custody, and property division.
However, it is important to note that adultery is only one factor that the court will consider when making a determination of issues involving alimony, custody, and property division, and thus, a finding of adultery does not guarantee an unfavorable determination for the defendant.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.
Cordell & Cordell has men's divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney, including Maryland Divorce Lawyer Jeff J. Kim, please contact Cordell & Cordell.