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The legal issues surrounding adultery and divorce are different depending on the state with jurisdiction over the divorce case. Adultery is defined as extramarital sex that willfully and maliciously interferes with marriage. In some states, proof of adultery is sufficient legal grounds for divorce, while in other states citing fault is not required to seek divorce.
Historically adultery and divorce were much more closely correlated than they are today in the eyes of the law. In the past, in order to get a divorce or a separation, the innocent party had t prove that their spouse committed some significant wrongdoing in order to seek legal approval for the termination of marriage. This meant that the innocent party would have to show that adultery, abandonment, cruelty, or some other wrongdoing occurred to justify the divorce.
In the past adultery and divorce was treated much differently and also depended on who was committing the adultery. Adultery used to be a crime punishable by death, particularly if it was committed by the wife in a marital relationship. In some countries, adultery is still illegal. The US military still considers adultery a court marshal offense that can result in dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay, and up to one year of confinement.
While most states no longer recognize adultery as a crime per se, they do recognize adultery as a viable ground for divorce. States with no fault divorce laws do not require that the innocent party show proof that the other party committed adultery in order to grant divorce. In no-fault divorce cases, there are certain legal requirements that must be met but these do not include proof of fault. Though all states have a no fault divorce option, there are seventeen pure, “no fault” states, meaning that they only recognize no fault as the basis for divorce.
There are twelve “no fault” states that also allow for fault grounds such as adultery and divorce. There are an additional eight states that have waiting periods for no fault divorce, and “fault options” for those who do not wish to wait. Some states like Utah and Idaho require a waiting period of five years, which may make fault grounds for divorce a more appealing option. There are other states where proving fault, such as adultery and divorce, is the most sensible and easiest way to get a divorce.
In states were fault must be shown in a case involving adultery and divorce, it is often not enough for both parties to admit that one committed adultery. Adultery must be independently proven as fact in an adultery and divorce case. This can require extensive investigations and other requisites. The accused in an adultery and divorce case may also have the option of contesting the grounds for divorce.If you would like to learn more about your legal rights and options in a case involving adultery and divorce, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney who can protect and maximize your legal rights.
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