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Last Updated on: 1st August 2023, 12:41 am
Adultery is often an issue that leads to divorce. Whether it plays a role in your divorce will depend on your state’s laws and circumstances specific to your case. The only way it will affect your divorce is when your spouse attempts to claim the adultery makes you at fault. However, if your spouse forgave you for the adultery and you both resumed your marriage, you could a defense known as condonation.
How Fault Works in a Divorce
The two types of divorces are no-fault divorces, which are recognized in every state, and at-fault divorces, which are only recognized in some states.
A no-fault divorce means that the court recognizes the divorce without finding either party at fault, regardless of the reason for the divorce.
An at-fault divorce, in states that allow it, means that the court finds one party at fault for the divorce. Adultery is a valid reason to find one party at fault.
Spousal Support and Division of Property
The primary reason for your spouse to bring up a previous adultery in court would be to receive a more favorable judgement in terms of spousal support and division of property. This would only occur if you were found at fault for the divorce, which means it’s not an issue if you live in a no-fault state.
Proving the Adultery
If your spouse is filing for an at-fault divorce and claiming your adultery resulted in the end of your marriage, then he will need to prove that you were adulterous and that it ended the marriage to the court. Proving adultery can be a simple task if your spouse kept any evidence of your adultery, such as emails or phone records.
Proving that the adultery led to the end of your marriage is more challenging if your spouse forgave you and you two resumed your marriage afterward. If your spouse divorced you after finding out about the adultery, then he could make a strong case that you are at fault. Once he forgives you, this is no longer true.
Defending Yourself Against an Adultery Accusation
When you and your spouse have continued your marriage after he finds out about your adultery, it makes it much easier to defend yourself against that accusation in court. You can use the claim of condonation, which means that your spouse knew you had an affair, forgave you for it, and then stayed married to you.
Your condonation defense will be stronger if you have evidence to support it, although this typically isn’t hard to prove. After all, if you two continued to act as a married couple after the alleged affair took place, the court will realize that your spouse forgave your conduct. Still, presenting evidence, such as messages or even witnesses who can testify that you two remained married at a certain time, can help your case.
Keep in mind that there are situations where the court won’t accept your condonation defense. For example, if your spouse forgave you for an affair but you then had another affair, the court may find you at fault.
How Adultery Will Affect the Divorce Proceedings
The only way that your adultery could affect your divorce is in regards to support and property division. It won’t be the deciding factor in whether you get divorced.
Although some states have waiting periods between the time a spouse files for divorce and the time a divorce is granted, courts don’t want to force people to stay together. It won’t matter if the court finds your spouse’s claim of adultery to be truthful or not. Even if your spouse files an at-fault divorce because of your adultery and the court finds that you aren’t at fault, it will still almost always allow the divorce, just on a no-fault basis.
Consulting with a Divorce Lawyer
For the best results in your divorce, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer. Whether it’s a no-fault divorce or an at-fault divorce, there are plenty of assets at stake and it’s important that you get your fair share.
A divorce lawyer will represent you and your interests. If your spouse is claiming adultery, you can explain the circumstances to your lawyer so he can put together the best defense to the accusation.
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