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Compassionate Family Law Attorneys. Adultery is still a criminal offense in Massachusetts, although prosecution of such a crime is exceedingly rare, and its use in divorce proceedings has fallen into disfavor.
Nevertheless, an allegation of adultery may affect child custodial arrangements and is a development in a divorce proceeding to be taken seriously. It is the state prison portion of the potential sentence that makes the crime a Felony.Cheating Wife Of 10 Years Was Ducked At Hotels Multiple Times - Reddit Relationships Stories
In Commonwealth v. Stowell, Mass. Texas, S. The Massachusetts Bar Association has published an excellent short review of the constitutionality of the law in Lieber, Is Adultery still a crime after Lawrence? Adulterers are not equal to non-adulterer spouses under the law.
In Massachusetts, adultery may affect custody if the adultery is proven to have harmed or impaired the children. However, adultery does not automatically affect alimony awards in Massachusetts. It will, however, be a factor for consideration in awarding alimony. There is also the issue of forgiveness. If you know your spouse committed adultery but continued to live and cohabit with him or her, then adultery cannot be used as grounds for divorce. But, if your spouse starts having affairs again, you can then sue on grounds of adultery. Or, if your spouse has had several affairs and you knew of and condoned only one, you may file on adultery regarding the newly discovered affairs.
Sometimes known as a paramour, the co-respondent is the person whom you charge as having committed adultery with your spouse. The co-respondent has the right to hire a lawyer and file an answer to your complaint.
Naming co-respondents can get sticky, particularly if your facts are incorrect. You might be damaging the reputation of an innocent person. Should the allegations prove incorrect, the co-respondent could sue for defamation, libel or slander. Therefore, I advise my clients to be careful and absolutely sure of the facts before relying on adultery as one of the grounds for a divorce.
Adultery cases add to the bitterness and hostility in a divorce proceeding.
Names, dates, places, paramours, and the like will be written in pleadings filed with the court, and these allegations will be argued in court. Absent a court order, pleadings are public documents, and courtrooms are open to members of the public. However, you may still need a detective to prove your case in court. There is still a need for an independent corroborative witness, such as a mutual friend or neighbor, who has no stake in the matter except telling the court what he or she witnessed.
Most adultery cases are proven by circumstantial evidence, which means that you have to establish that your spouse had the disposition and opportunity to commit adultery. Public displays of affection are generally sufficient evidence to indicate an adulterous disposition.
If you can only prove disposition but not opportunity, the courts may not allow your divorce because the court may reason that it is just mere speculation. The same is true if you only show that there was opportunity, but cannot prove disposition. Most divorce complaints list adultery as one of several bases for the divorce; as Massachusetts is a no-fault divorce state, the ground of irretrievable breakdown is most often used as the principle allegation justifying the divorce.
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Facebook Twitter Linkedin Instagram. Bruce L. Call For A Free Consultation. Home Our Firm Bruce L. Watson, Esq. Christine Sunnerberg, Esq. Adultery and Divorce Law in Massachusetts. Posted by Attorney Bruce Watson Adultery is still a criminal offense in Massachusetts, although prosecution of such a crime is exceedingly rare, and its use in divorce proceedings has fallen into disfavor.
The last prosecution for adultery occurred almost thirty years ago: In Commonwealth v.
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