How Does Adultery Affect Divorce in Maryland?

Some states only grant no-fault divorces, but Maryland is not one of them. In the State of Maryland, you can obtain either a no-fault or a fault-based divorce, and one ground for a fault-based divorce in Maryland is adultery. While the majority of divorces in Maryland are no-fault, this does not alter the fact that a fault-based divorce is available under specific circumstances, and the fact of fault can have a significant impact on your divorce. If you are facing a divorce predicated on adultery in Maryland, it’s time to consult with an experienced Maryland divorce attorney.

Fault-Based Divorce

In order to obtain a fault-based divorce in Maryland, you’ll need to be able to prove at least one fault-based ground for divorce (but you may claim more than one fault-based ground). Fault grounds in the State of Maryland include:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Imprisonment for a crime
  • Insanity
  • Cruel treatment
  • Excessively vicious conduct

Obtaining a fault-based divorce can affect alimony in your case. The fact of your soon-to-be-ex’s wrongdoing can tip the scale in favor of you receiving alimony. Fault can also affect your child custody arrangements – but only if the fault ground is deemed harmful to your shared children (adultery – in and of itself – isn’t likely to qualify unless the court finds that your spouse’s adulterous behavior harmed your shared children in some important way).

Divorce Based on Adultery

In Maryland, adultery is a fault-based ground for divorce for which there is no waiting period required. If you can prove that your spouse committed adultery during the course of your marriage, you may be able to obtain a fault-based divorce quite quickly.

Proving Adultery

In order to prove that your spouse committed adultery, you won’t need to claim that actual sexual intercourse took place – instead, you are tasked with proving that your spouse had both the personal disposition and the opportunity to engage in sexual intercourse outside of your marriage. An adulterous disposition generally refers to things like public displays of affection – like hand-holding, hugging, and kissing – between your spouse and someone who is not you. Opportunity in the context of adultery, however, generally refers to things like being able to prove that your spouse was seen entering the home of the person who is not you at 1 AM and leaving said house a few hours later at 4 AM.

Your Spouse’s Admission

Your spouse admitting to having committed adultery is not sufficient as far as the court and proof are concerned. Instead, it falls upon you to prove your spouse’s adultery via evidence that can include intimate communications between the two. Examples include:

  • Explicit text messages
  • Sexy photographs
  • Suggestive emails

If, however, the cheating spouse in question is your husband and he fathers a baby outside of your marriage, this will very likely fulfill the court’s requirement for proof.

If you are seeking a divorce based on adultery, the path forward can be exceptionally complicated, but a dedicated Maryland divorce attorney with considerable experience successfully representing these often difficult cases can help.

Contact our office today.