Divorce Based on Adultery in Maryland

In Maryland, adultery is one of the fault-based grounds for absolute divorce that immediately and permanently dissolves a marriage. To pursue an absolute divorce on the grounds of adultery, one spouse faces the complex and emotional task of proving their spouse’s infidelity.
Contact Us

How Courts Define Adultery in Maryland

In Maryland, adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than their husband or wife deemed objectionable due to social, moral, religious, or legal grounds.
attorney talking to client

Fault-Based Divorce

Some circumstances merit a fault-based ground for divorce, and adultery is one of them. You may wonder, “Is adultery a crime?” It is not. This means a person cannot be charged with committing adultery in Maryland. However, the fact that one spouse has committed adultery may be relevant to certain legal implications, impacting decisions regarding alimony or property division.

Understanding Condonation

If the spouse who was wronged knowingly continues to live with and have sexual relations with the spouse who engaged in extramarital sexual relations, it may be seen as acceptance or forgiveness and is referred to as condonation.

Condonation may be used as a defense to a claim of adultery as grounds for an absolute divorce, as it suggests that the spouse who was wronged was aware of the extramarital affair and did not consider it grounds for a divorce.

How to Prove Adultery

Proving adultery requires tangible evidence of the extramarital affair through disposition and opportunity. Disposition refers to inappropriate displays of affection such as handholding, hugging, or kissing. Opportunity is also required alongside disposition and may include evidence of a sleepover or hotel check-in.

To prove disposition and opportunity, you will need proof. Intimate emails, voicemails, text messages, and explicit photographs or videos are considered substantial evidence of adultery. If the adulterous spouse has a child outside of the marriage, this will also be classified as evidence of the affair.

Trevillian Law attorneys

Collecting Evidence of Adultery in a Maryland Divorce

Collecting evidence of your spouse’s extramarital affair can be complex. It is essential to work with a qualified attorney to obtain a licensed private investigator. Handling matters on your own may result in breached privacy, harassment, and stalking laws, which could subject you to criminal and civil prosecution.

Resolving Adultery Through Mediation

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution, including a neutral third party, that helps the parties reach a mutually acceptable resolution. Mediation is considered less adversarial and less costly and can be especially useful for addressing issues related to adultery.

Resolving Adultery Through Litigation

Resolving adultery through litigation is the process of resolving legal disputes through the court system. In a divorce case, litigation may be necessary if the parties cannot resolve it through other means, such as mediation. If a spouse seeks a divorce on the grounds of adultery, the other spouse may contest the divorce, resulting in the matter being decided by a judge.

Resolving Adultery Through Arbitration

Arbitration is when the parties agree to resolve their dispute by an arbitrator rather than a judge. The arbitrator will hear both sides of the case and issue a decision that is binding on the parties. Similar to mediation, arbitration can be a less formal and less costly way of resolving disputes related to an adultery divorce case.

Three Types of Alimony in Maryland Divorce Cases

Alimony Pendente Lite

Support is awarded during divorce proceedings to satisfy necessary needs.

Indefinite Alimony

Support awarded to a long-term spouse once a divorce is finalized due to evidence suggesting the supported spouse will not become financially independent.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Temporary support that helps the supported spouse get the education, training, or employment required to become financially independent.

Does the Cheating Spouse Have to Be Caught in the Act?

It is a misconception that the spouse engaging in extramarital affairs must be caught in the act. Instead, evidence of disposition and opportunity must be presented to display a justified belief that your spouse has been affectionate or intimate with someone outside your marriage.
Trevillian Law attorneys talking

Can Hearsay Be Considered Proof?

As adultery cases require evidence of disposition and opportunity, hearsay will not be considered tangible evidence in a court of law.

Custody of Children

Adultery is not correlated to the spouse’s ability to care for their children. Therefore, the termination of custodial rights is unlikely unless it is proven that the spouse has engaged in behavior that put the children in danger or detrimentally jeopardized their well-being during the affair.

Reputable Divorce Attorneys in Maryland

Discovering that your spouse has been unfaithful is a heartbreaking and emotionally trying experience that becomes amplified by the complexities of divorce proceedings. The Law Offices of William Trevillian P.A. can ease the strain of these challenging times with expert legal representation. Contact our law offices to schedule your free consultation today.

Request a Free Consultation

Call us now at 410-761-2430.