Will adultery change the outcome of your divorce in Maryland?

Adultery affects many marriages, yet each couple who endures it responds in a different manner. You may have friends or relatives who forgave their spouses after they had an affair, and who managed to make their marriages stronger in its aftermath. Yet, if you discovered that your spouse was unfaithful to you, whether once or numerous times, you may feel there is no path forward for your marriage. Before you file for divorce, though, it is important to understand whether their adultery could impact the outcome of your case.

Adultery is grounds for a fault-based divorce

While Maryland allows for no-fault divorces, you can also file for a fault-based divorce in certain situations. Among the reasons you can do so is if your spouse committed adultery. By filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery, you must prove that your spouse had an opportunity to engage in it. You must also prove that they had an adulterous disposition. To back up your claims, you will need to gather circumstantial evidence – such as photographs and texts – that corroborates your spouse’s actions and intent.

Adultery could affect your divorce proceedings

In certain cases, your spouse’s adultery could affect the outcome of your divorce proceedings. While adultery is not an outright bar to alimony in Maryland, the value of you or your spouse’s award – whichever of you is eligible – could depend on whether your spouse’s actions affected your marital property. If your spouse did use marital property to conduct their affair, their behavior could also impact the share of it they receive, though the court may weigh other factors more heavily. And if you two have children, your spouse’s actions could also affect your custody arrangement. For this to happen, though, their adultery must have harmed your children in some way.

Filing a fault-based divorce may not make sense in most situations. But if your spouse committed adultery and their actions harmed you or your children, it may be necessary to do so to hold them accountable. A family law attorney can help you understand whether a fault-based divorce is appropriate in your circumstances.