Adultery is defined as when a married individual gets involved in a sexual relationship with another person other than their spouse. A person who discovers that their spouse is committing adultery may file for a divorce on the grounds of adultery. If a divorce is filed on the grounds of adultery, this divorce is considered a fault or contested divorce.
Other grounds a contested divorce may be filed on are:
- Desertion or Abandonment
- Conviction of spouse where he/she are sentenced to at least three years in a correctional facility.
- Domestic Violence
When divorce is filed on the grounds of adultery, the plaintiff (innocent spouse) is required to prove that the adultery took place. This is done by proving two main concepts; Opportunity and Disposition.
Opportunity may be proved by showing that a spouse spent a significant amount of time with another individual alone in a residence such as a house or a hotel. For example, if a partner is seen entering the home of another individual late at night and not seen leaving until the next morning.
Disposition in Maryland
Disposition may be proved by showing evidence of a spouse’s public display of affection with another individual. For example, if a partner is seen kissing, hugging or holding hands with an individual other than their partner.
Computers, tablets, and telephones may also be used as evidence when proving adultery (e.g. emails, phone calls, texts, photos etc.) However, they may not always be eligible for use as evidence in court depending on the circumstances in which they were obtained.
A spouse accused of committing adultery in Maryland during a dissolution of marriage may argue that it not be considered as grounds for the divorce based on:
- Condonation: spouses continue to live together and participate in sexual relations with each other after the accusing (innocent) spouse discovers the occurrence of the affair.
- Recrimination: evidence that the accusing partner is also involved in a sexual relationship outside the marriage.
- Connivance: This occurs when the accusing partner has knowledge and encourages or accommodates the affair.
In comparison with the other grounds for a consented dissolution of marriage, in Maryland, infidelity does not require that the couple be separated for any period of time before filing the divorce but instead qualifies it for immediate dissolution of marriage.
Adultery may or may not have an effect on whether or not alimony will be granted in divorce in Maryland. Alimony cannot be demanded as a punishment for adultery. Similarly, the court will not refuse a spouse’s request for alimony just because they had committed infidelity during the marriage. Furthermore, for the chance of alimony being rewarded to the innocent spouse on the grounds of adultery, it must be proved to the judge that the affair had an effect on the financial state of the marriage. For example, if a spouse spent a significant amount of the married couples shared savings on things such as gifts for their lover or hotel rooms in which the affair took place. Even in this case, it is rare that a judge changes the conditions of the alimony or reward it based solely on adultery.
If you need a Maryland Divorce Lawyer to help you with your divorce case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland divorce attorneys can help you. C