what is adultery?
Adultery is 1 of the 5 grounds upon which a divorce could be based. Legally, adultery refers to when a married person has had sex with someone else. That “someone else” must be of the opposite sex, as adultery is not grounds for divorce in a same-sex marriage.
Adultery, despite being a common occurrence, can be difficult to choose as a grounds for divorce. The reason for this is because adultery is only valid if the adulterous partner admits that they have had an affair. If they don’t, the application risks being thrown out of court, and the person applying for divorce may have to re-do their forms.
Sadly, adultery is never straightforward and is always different for each situation. Most lawyers will advise their clients to use unreasonable behaviour as their initial reason for divorce, simply because unreasonable behaviour covers such a large variety of actions, including adultery.
how can i prove adultery?
If you’re able to gather obvious evidence of adultery, you can use this to support your case. This could be anything such as texts, images and emails. In this situation, adultery can be a “quicker” grounds for divorce, as the court will have blatant evidence that the relationship has broken down.
However, adultery doesn’t always go that way. If you have no evidence, and the other person doesn’t admit to being adulterous, it could be thrown out in court. This means the Petitioner will need to choose a different reason for the divorce.
As previously stated, if you can’t prove adultery, you’ll need to use other grounds. In this case, it is usually unreasonable behaviour that people will choose. The court will allow you 3-5 examples of unreasonable behaviour that your spouse has committed.
what do i need to know about adultery?
- You must file for divorce within 6 months of finding out about the adultery. If you fail to do this, you’ll need to use a different reason.
- It must be because your partner has committed adultery; you cannot file for divorce based on your adultery.
- You can name the person with whom your spouse has been adulterous if you wish. If this is the case, they will also receive a copy of the divorce petition. Generally, people tend to not name this person, as adding another person into the divorce situation can make it even more complicated.
- In most cases, it will be the petitioner who pays for the divorce petition, not the person who has committed adultery.
what if i’m gay or I’m in a civil partnership?
In the UK, it’s legally impossible to commit adultery if you’re in a same-sex marriage or a same-sex civil partnership. The laws that surround adultery clearly define that the act must be physically intimate between a man and a woman. Despite being somewhat outdated, this legislation is yet to be changed to accommodate the needs of the LGBT community.
However, if you are in a same-sex marriage and your partner has had an affair, you can still use this as evidence during the divorce process. Many married LGBT couples who choose to get divorced will use unreasonable behaviour as their grounds but will support it by stating that their partner has had an affair.
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