Under Maryland law, adultery occurs when a married person voluntarily engages in sexual intercourse with a person that is not his or her spouse. To qualify as a divorce ground, your spouse’s affair must have become physical—culminating in sexual intercourse. Mental or emotional affairs are not enough to meet the requirements. Being overly familiar with a friend at work alone is not enough to meet the legal requirement. Proving adultery means proving sexual contact.
To prove adultery in Maryland, you must provide the court with sufficient evidence to show that the cheating spouse has a disposition to cheat and has had the opportunity to cheat. Maryland law also requires “corroboration” of the adultery or evidence or testimony from some outside source that your spouse committed adultery. The evidence cannot just be your own word or even your spouse’s own admission.
Given the high standard of proof, and the corroboration requirement, proving adultery in Maryland can be very difficult. It will require a certain kind of evidence to overcome the “clear and convincing evidence” requirement, and prove not just that your spouse is having a romantic relationship with another, but that the relationship has culminated in sexual contact.
Defenses to an Adultery Allegation
Maryland law provides several possible defenses to a charge of adultery. The successful establishment of any one of these defenses will prevent the entry of divorce on the ground of adultery:
Condonation. Condonation occurs when the parties voluntarily resume sexual relations and continue living together after the innocent spouse learns of the adultery.
Recrimination. Recrimination is proof that the accusing spouse is guilty of committing adultery.
Connivance. Connivance or procurement occurs when the “innocent” spouse encourages or facilitates the adultery.
Proving adultery is not an easy task. A divorce attorney can let you know if your evidence of adultery is solid enough to present in court. At the Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams, we understand the nuances of divorce in Maryland. Contact us today at our office in Rockville at (301) 778 – 9950.