No Tango Necessary In Adultery
The ground of adultery enables the party who has been harmed (the non-adulterous party) to obtain a divorce more quickly than other grounds such as two-year statutory separation or voluntary separation for one year [UPDATE: The Legislature, effective October 1, 2011, revised the 2-year statutory separation to a 1-year statutory separation]. The non-adulterous party can immediately file for divorce based on the ground of adultery.
Most individuals think of adultery as “catching” his/her spouse engaging in sexual activity with someone else.
In reality, adultery requires two elements of proof. The first is “adulterous disposition”, meaning that the adulterous party has shown affection to a companion. Evidence of adulterous disposition can be in various forms such as kissing, hugging, and other physical forms of affection. Additional evidence of adulterous disposition may be written letters, e-mails, and/or greeting cards expressing affection to the companion.
The second element of adultery is “opportunity”. Private investigators are often employed to prove this element as well as the element of adulterous disposition. A private investigator will follow the adulterous party, who is typically accompanied by his companion, to a residence, hotel, motel or other place wherein the adulterous person can be alone with the companion. For several hours, the private investigator will remain outside of the place where the adulterous party and companion are alone. The time that these individuals are alone together proves the “opportunity” element of adultery.
When I attended law school many years ago, my Domestic Relations professor often remarked, “Boys, in almost every divorce there is adultery and don’t you ever forget it”. My belief is that a client should be informed of the option to use a private investigator to determine if his/her spouse has committed adultery. Often we will set up an appointment for the private investigator to come to our office, to meet our client, and to discuss the strategy to be employed for purposes of proving adultery.
The benefits of proving adultery include quicker access to the courts and the Court’s consideration of whether the adultery led to the breakup of the marriage when property division is considered and whether alimony should be paid by the adulterous party.
Fred Antenberg is a domestic relations attorney located in Howard County, Maryland, who provides family law counseling to clients within Howard County, Maryland, and surrounding counties. Call Fred Antenberg today at 410-730-4404.