How Can I Prove Adultery Or Grounds For Divorce In Maryland?
How can I prove adultery?
In an absolute divorce, provided for in Maryland Family Law Section 7-103, a plaintiff must prove his/her entitlement to an absolute divorce and this is known as “grounds.” The grounds must be satisfied before anyone can get something out of their divorce (alimony, property, money etc.) Those entitlements or requests such as alimony are called “claims for relief” and can only be requested if “grounds” are proven.
As to statistics, the vast majority of Maryland divorces are granted on the grounds of voluntary separation; this is followed a distant second by the grounds of adultery. Yet the cold statistics ignore the fact that most separations begin with adultery and somewhere along the line to the big D, everybody just says: “we are separated so let’s be done with it.”
So, the root cause is/was adultery but the state reported data available to the public suggests “voluntary.”
In a recent case I encountered in the Howard County Circuit Court, the Defendant had elected to stipulate to having committed an adultery so he did not have to wait a year to obtain a divorce. The Parties had lived in Highland Estates and thus the case was tried in Ellicott City.
When the Judge inquired as to the grounds for divorce, while agreed upon, nobody had direct evidence of the adultery outside their respective agreement there had been an adultery.
Thus the parties had to go back to the drawing board, re-file and get another court date in Ellicott City. Had either of them had evidence of the adultery, they would have been divorced by the Howard County Court then and there.
The net result of single minded insistence upon the adultery took longer than a year which was not what either party had wanted by the time they got to court. Had either party had any proof of disposition or opportunity as spelled out in a previous article “How do you prove adultery in a Maryland Divorce Case?” they could have been divorced then and there.
It’s important to reiterate they AGREED there had been an adultery and both told that to the judge. Yet because they came without “corroboration” the judge’s hands were tied. Back to square one, YIKES!
Tim Conlon Esquire at