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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Adultery


Term Definition Adultery - when one spouse has sexual intercourse with a third party.
Application in Divorce In some cases in recent years, courts have broadened the interpretation of the meaning of the word adultery to include a personal intimate sexual relationship with any other person other than the spouse without regard to specific sexual acts, the marital status or the sex of the third party. In this, the relationship becomes adulterous because it involves intimate sexual activity outside of marriage. By this reasoning, homosexual liaisons by married people become adulterous.

In some states and provinces adultery is considered grounds for divorce.

Courts once used adultery to punish the guilty because it was the sole ground for divorce in some jurisdictions.

Today courts focus more on the economic impact of adultery. In most states, marital misconduct or fault, such as adultery, is not considered, however. For example, committing adultery typically will not have a bearing on whether a parent can get custody of his or her child because it takes two people to do it. No one ever committed adultery alone. The logic of two-to- tango removes marital fault from consideration and allows the court to focus on other more relevant factors in making the best decision.

Judges now pay more attention to the economic impact of marital misconduct, such as the dissipation of assets or, worse, the hiding of assets.

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