Time to Revisit De-Criminalizing Adultery in Virginia?

When the General Assembly convened for session on January 11th, 2017, numerous bills were put forward regarding all manner of laws. For anyone considering a divorce on adultery grounds, one bill, Senate Bill 1124, was seeking to decriminalize adultery in Virginia, which at present remains a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $250 fine. Actual prosecutions of adultery are quite rare in present times.

Proponents of the bill argued that by de-criminalizing adultery, it will enable divorcing spouses to more easily and economically prove adultery in their divorce cases. Presently, a spouse who is in fact guilty of adultery can take the 5th Amendment under direct examination or questioning, leaving the other spouse to attempt to prove adultery via private investigators, extensive discovery, etc., which increases the costs of divorce litigation to the non-adulterous spouse, adding additional strain and burden during an already difficult time.

The bill did not pass in this years general assembly. It will be interesting to see what will happen in the future.

Divorce attorneys and clients should carefully track the potential of a future bill.

For further reading, the Richmond Times Dispatch article attached here highlights the reasons why all divorcing spouses should support de-criminalizing adultery.  http://www.richmond.com/opinion/their-opinion/guest-columnists/article_35a90a05-0321-592a-92da-1ef5dadc8228.html

If you think your spouse may be guilty of adultery and unsure of your options, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 804-423-1382 or info@wmmlegal.com.