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Does adultery matter in a Maryland divorce?

Adultery is a common reason that couples file for divorce. However, in many states, it is not a separate legal ground for it.

This is not true in Maryland. How does adultery affect divorce in the state?

No-fault versus fault-based grounds

Couples who have been living separately without cohabitation for at least 12 uninterrupted months and couples who mutually agree can get a no-fault divorce. By contrast, if a spouse commits adultery, the other spouse can file for a fault-based divorced but the filing spouse must prove that the other spouse committed adultery for the court to grant it.

Benefits of filing for a divorce based on adultery

One reason to file for a divorce based on adultery is that there is no waiting period. If a person wants to divorce a spouse who committed adultery, but can not get the spouse to consent, pursuing a fault-based divorce could avoid the 12-month waiting period.

Additionally, the court considers why the marriage broke down when making decisions about financial matters, such as spousal support and property division. A spouse who wants the judge to consider the adultery in these decisions may want to file for divorce on this ground.

How to prove a spouse committed adultery

To prove your spouse committed adultery, you must present evidence that proves your spouse had the opportunity and disposition for intercourse outside of your marriage. For example, photographs of your spouse kissing another person could be evidence of disposition, while eyewitness testimony that your spouse stayed at that person’s home overnight could demonstrate opportunity.

Adultery is often an emotionally painful topic for divorcing couples. However, there are circumstances where it may be necessary to address it during a divorce.

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