Virginia Fault Based Divorce: Tell me about Adultery?

Virginia is a state which has fault-based grounds for divorce. Fault-based grounds mean that there has been some sort of wrongdoing between the married couple which is the reason for the divorce. One such ground is adultery. Adultery occurs when one spouse has sexual intercourse with another person who is not his or her spouse. The sexual intercourse requirement for adultery is absolute – any other sort of affair (such as mental, emotional or even romantic) will not suffice.

It is very difficult to prove adultery in Virginia. There must not only be a finding that the spouse engaged in sexual intercourse with another person, but that the innocent spouse did not continue to live or cohabitate with the guilty spouse (condonation), and/or that the innocent spouse did not have an affair of his or her own (recrimination). To prove adultery, outside evidence or testimony must be introduced to verify that the sexual intercourse occurred. Given that this is a high standard to meet, filing for divorce on a fault-based ground of adultery can have significant impacts on a divorce proceedings for spousal support and equitable distribution.

Simply put, adultery as a ground for divorce in Virginia is complex and requires expert legal advice. If you are considering filing for divorce on the ground of adultery or have been accused of adultery, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 804-423-1382 or to schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our experienced Virginia divorce and custody attorneys.