Adultery, derived from the Latin word adulterium, is defined as extramarital sex that is considered objectionable on social, religious, moral, or legal grounds. When a married man or woman has sex outside marriage it will be considered as Adultery. Allegations of adultery have several implications.
Does the cheating spouse have to be caught “in the act”?
The answer to this question is NO. There always been a misconception that the cheating partner should be caught in the act. In Maryland, the standard of proving adultery is proof of Disposition and Opportunity. While proving means presence of both standards, disposition will constitute an affectionate act behavior between the parties in question.
Disposition could include hugging, cuddling, kissing, etc. Therefore, it means the proof of overt sexual act needs to be a part of the relationship to prove adultery.
Opportunity means whether the cheating partner had the occasion to carry out the act of affection towards the affair partner.
The best way to prove opportunity is to catch the cheating partner and affair partner in the same place at the same time, giving rise to the reasonable belief that they could have been intimate or affectionate.
Example to demonstrate disposition and opportunity:
When a cheating male partner and his affair partner are at a restaurant having dinner together and end it together with an affectionate embrace and part ways, it does not satisfy the roles of disposition and opportunity. However, if the cheating partner and the affair partner leave the restaurant together and enter a hotel room together, it satisfies both disposition and opportunity and can be accused of adultery.
Can hearsay be considered as proof?
To prove disposition and opportunity, the hearsay proof will not be considered. There needs to be evidence that has been collected legally. For this, you will need experienced persons to handle it as doing it on your own may sometimes mean that you break the laws unintentionally. Please note that unlicensed, non-professional, or do-it-yourself private investigators could easily break privacy laws, harassment laws, and stalking laws; which could result in civil and criminal prosecution.
Are you suspecting your partner to be committing adultery? Then it is time to get in touch with the Maryland Attorney, they will have the private investigators that have decades of experience in nabbing cheating partners. Experienced Attorney in Maryland provides results-driven investigations.
Adultery and divorce
Adultery is a fault-based ground for divorce. It means there is no waiting period to obtain a divorce when adultery is a ground. If a party claims and proves that his or her partner committed adultery, the court can grant the divorce right away.
To prove adultery in court, you need not to prove that actual intercourse took place. But it is a must to prove that the cheating partner had both the disposition and the opportunity for intercourse outside of the marriage.
Examples of an adulterous “disposition” include public displays of affection, like holding hands, kissing, and hugging, between the cheating partner and the non-spouse.
Example of an adulterous “opportunity” include proving that your partner was seen entering the non-partner’s apartment alone at night and not coming out until day break.
It wouldn’t be enough if your spouse had admitted to adultery. It must be substantiated with text messages, photographs, emails, etc. proving that the adultery did take place. Note that of the cheating spouse is a male and a child is born outside of the marriage, it is usually enough to prove a claim of adultery.
The law is not completely clear about how adultery relates to same-sex marriages. However, the Maryland Attorney General has issued an opinion suggesting that adultery should include “a spouse’s extramarital sexual infidelity with a person of the same sex.”
Adultery and alimony
What is alimony? It is the amount of money that one spouse pays the other either during or after divorce or both. The rationale behind alimony is to ensure that both spouses live as closely as possible to the standard of living they enjoyed while they were married and that no one is suffering because of the divorce.
In Maryland, there are different kinds of alimony:
- Alimony pendente lite: It is provisional alimony that the court awards while the divorce is still pending and no final order has been issued. The purpose is to help the supported spouse make ends meet while the legal proceedings are sorted out.
- Indefinite alimony: It is awarded following the dissolution of a long-term marriage and when it appears that the supported spouse isn’t likely to become self-supporting.
- Rehabilitative alimony: It is a type of temporary alimony that is given to the supported spouse for a limited period and with the intent of providing the financial support necessary to complete the training or education necessary to become fully employed and self-supporting.
Adultery is one of the grounds for divorce, and it’s defined as a married person having sexual relations with someone outside of the marriage. If it is known that your spouse has committed adultery, you can go to court and prove that fact to a judge, who will, in turn, grant your divorce on the grounds of adultery.
There are several pros and cons in proving fault-based grounds, like adultery. These grounds may have an impact on other parts of the divorce, such as child custody. With too many implications involved, you can talk to your attorney in Maryland to know how your case will proceed and what the outcome will be.
Does Adultery Affect Alimony Awards in Maryland?
So, when you are granted a divorce on the fault ground that your spouse committed adultery, does that mean you can stop your spouse from obtaining alimony from you? Well, the answer to this question of a NO. In Maryland, though the court may have found out already that your spouse had committed adultery and granted you divorce for that reason, you may not be able to hold that fact against your spouse when it comes to alimony. The judge may or may not prefer to consider the adultery, but the judge cannot say that your spouse is prohibited from seeking alimony because of adultery.
The judges, while deciding alimony, can consider fault, such as adultery, which has resulted in divorce and destroyed the marital home. However, the fault can only be considered when it concerns the financial needs of the spouse seeking alimony. It means adultery is only relevant to alimony if it has an impact on the finances of the supported spouse. For example, the cheating spouse splurges the couples’ life savings on the affair partner during the marriage, to buy gifts, book hotel rooms, or go on vacations, a judge would most likely find that this affected the supported spouse’s finances.
Consequently, the courts in Maryland are required to apply the normal statutory requirements to all alimony cases, even in cases of adultery, to determine the amount and duration of alimony to be paid (if any).
To decide whether to award alimony, judges have to “consider all the factors necessary for a fair and equitable award,” including:
- the ability of the spouse seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting
- the time necessary for the supported spouse to gain sufficient education or training to enable that spouse to find suitable employment
- the standard of living that the spouses established during their marriage
- the duration of the marriage
- the contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each spouse to the well-being of the family
- the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the spouses
- the age of each spouse
- the physical and mental condition of each spouse
- the ability of the paying spouse to meet his or her own needs while also meeting the needs of the supported spouse
- any agreement (for instance, a prenuptial agreement) between the spouses, and
- the financial needs and financial resources of each spouse.
Never think that you will have an upper hand in case of divorce on grounds of adultery. Maryland is a no-fault state, meaning that even though he committed adultery, the cheating spouse still has the same legal rights as you do.
What happens to the custody of children?
Although you have enough proof that your spouse was cheating on you and that certainly qualifies him as a less than ideal husband, there is nothing about his capability to be a good parent. Therefore, it is not likely the court will take away the custody rights based only on evidence of adultery unless you can prove that the cheating husband put the children in danger during his trysts. Additionally, proving your spouse cheated on you will likely not affect the amount of child support you receive, either, as a result of your divorce.
Denial of alimony.
According to Maryland’s no-fault state guidelines, even if your cheating spouse was the reason for the collapse of your marriage, he can still ask for spousal support. However, the court may take into consideration the reason for the divorce, which could affect the amount of money that you are ordered to pay.
If you need the help of a Maryland Divorce Lawyer for a divorce case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland Divorce Attorneys can help you.