In Virginia, the United States of America adultery in considered to be a fault ground for divorce. A fault is a martial misconducted which is committed by a guilty spouse. By the Virginian law, adultery refers to any voluntary sexual misconduct outside the marriage including any homosexual acts. There are many ways in which adultery affects the divorce process in Virginia. Unlike other divorce grounds, there is no waiting period for filing a divorce based on adultery.
In the case where a spouse has committed infidelity and the other spouse has condoned it and continued to live with the guilty spouse after the act has been committed, the court is not entitled to grant a divorce on the terms of this fault ground. If both spouses have committed infidelity and want a divorce the Virginian court will not grant a fault divorce due to recrimination.
Recrimination is when both spouses are guilty of adultery. However, after a year or six months of no minor children are involved of separation the couple can file a divorce on no-fault grounds.
Adultery has severe consequences in the Virginian court of law. It can affect the judge’s final judgment and the outcome of the divorce. Whether adultery has been committed or not alters the distribution of marital property or debts. The judge will not award any spousal support or alimony to the guilty spouse unless the denial of this will result in injustice.
The state of Virginia classifies infidelity as a class 4 misdemeanour; this means that it is a low-class criminal offence. Its maximum punishment is a $250 fine. However without a confession, it is hard to prove infidelity as the guilty partner usually evokes their Fifth Amendment right, this allows the accused to decline answering any questions in which they may feel incriminated against.
When filing for a fault divorce based on infidelity in Virginia the plaintiff will have to prove that a sexual affair did happen. This can be done either directly or indirectly. In most cases it is hard for a spouse to have direct proof. In the event of this a private investigator can be hired who may assist in finding evidence of the affair. Direct evidence indicating the spouse is guilty includes public displays of affection and an exchange of emails or texts showing romantic involvement. When hiring a private investigator you need to make sure he/she is certified in the state of Virginia. Another option is using indirect proof otherwise known as circumstantial evidence. This needs to show that the guilty spouse had the chance to commit adultery. Evidence to prove this includes hotel or travel records, like booking confirmations and credit card receipts.
In Virginia adultery is based on physical affairs such as sexual intercourse. It does not include mental or emotional affairs. For example, infidelity cannot be filed as the divorce ground if a spouse becomes overall familiar with a co-worker but rather is becoming physical and showing affection. Also if both spouses decide to go for a no-fault divorce and live separate from each other dating during the separation period is considered a martial misconduct.