What is adultery?
Adultery is defined as sexual intercourse between someone who is currently married and another person they are not married to. Maryland state laws insist that the acts of sexual intercourse have some sort of penetration of the female sexual organ by the male sexual organ. The act does not necessarily need to be completed to claim adultery was committed.
Cunnilingus and/or fellatio are not viewed as adultery. Acts of adultery may be isolated incidents, or they could be repeated over a certain number of days, weeks, months or even years. This is especially true if a married person has had an affair with another partner.
How can adultery affect a marriage?
A person who is thought to have committed adultery may be viewed in a negative light by their spouse, children, family members, friends and others that they come into contact with on a regular basis. Their infidelities can be called into question. The partner who was cheated on may be understandably hurt by their actions and start to doubt their own self-worth.
Adultery can make the accused people’s children concerned. They may worry that their parents no longer love them or that a divorce is imminent. It’s important to let children know that acts of adultery are never their fault.
The person that was accused of being involved with a married person will also be affected. They may be shunned by regular romantic partners, children, parents, grandparents, colleagues and neighbors, even if they are completely innocent. Some employers may use those accusations as a reason to terminate that employee, especially if they are in an “at-will” state like Maryland. Businesses don’t want the bad publicity that’s often associated with suspicion of adultery.
Can I use adultery as grounds for divorce?
Adultery is a common reason used when a person asks to end their marriage. However, it’s something that must be proven. An individual can’t just suspect their spouse of being unfaithful without having substantial evidence to support those claims.
You can’t use adultery as a reason for seeking a divorce if you continue martial relations or resume living with the offender. This is known as condonation. In the eyes of the law, you’ve basically forgiven the person for their misdeeds. You could still sue your spouse for adultery if they had more than one affair that you were previously unaware of or if they continued to commit adulterous acts after you initially forgave their behavior. Condonation may be evaluated along with other contributing factors when a divorce case is brought to court.
How can I prove that my partner committed adultery?
Acts of adultery may have been witnessed by a spouse, coworker, friend or other people in public. Witness testimony may be crucial in confirming adultery. There may also be video or photographic evidence of hugs, kisses, hand-holding and other types of public displays of affection. You may also witness such acts yourself. This is known as flagrante delicto, or catching someone in the act of committing a crime or illegal activity.
People who suspect their partner of being unfaithful may hire a private detective to keep an eye on them. The detective may record evidence that can be used to support the adultery claim in court. Both opportunity and disposition must be present when circumstantial evidence is provided. You can’t have one without the other. The plaintiff (the person who made the initial complaint) must be able to prove that the other person (also referred to as the defendant) had the opportunity and the intention to engage in sexual conduct with another person who they were not married to at the time.
Adultery isn’t always easy to prove. A person may suspect that their spouse has been unfaithful, even if there is no actual evidence to support that belief. It’s essential to have proof that can be verified and examined in court. There may even be penalties assessed on the party who made false accusations or failed to provide enough information that could confirm their claims.
Does adultery affect alimony?
Adultery won’t change alimony that has already been awarded to one partner. If alimony has not been determined, acts of adultery committed by one spouse could cause the court to award alimony to deny alimony or award it to the other spouse. It may affect child visitation and child support if the person who was accused of adultery could pose a danger to their children.
What can I do if I’ve been accused of adultery?
If your partner has accused you of adultery, it’s a good idea to get your records together. You may be asked to explain where you were at certain dates and times when acts of adultery supposedly occurred. Phone records, emails and other evidence can be used to refute those claims.
Both parties will have an equal opportunity to present their claims in court if necessary. Witnesses, evidence, and testimony will be presented, and each side can justify their reasoning. The person who was served with divorce papers has up to 90 days to respond, depending on where they live. If the respondent doesn’t reply, the plaintiff may request a default judgment in their favor.
Adultery is understandably difficult to deal with. Real or perceived infidelities can forever change a marriage. Even if a person who was accused of adultery has not been unfaithful, they may still be perceived as someone who is unreliable or untrustworthy. They may be viewed differently by their spouse, children, parents and other relatives, friends, coworkers and associates.
If you are certain that your partner has committed adultery or if you’ve been accused of adultery, contact us today to set up a free consultation. Our trained professionals will sit down with you and listen to what you have to say. We’ll advise you about actions that you can take and even represent you in court if you want.
Our goal is to help you get back on your feet again. This won’t be easy or instantaneous. Actual adultery and adultery accusations have been known to shake up marriages and families. The damage that’s done may be beyond repair. However, if you’re willing to keep an open mind and do the work that’s required, you may find yourself in a much better position than before in no time.