What is needed to prove adultery?
Under any circumstances, divorce is a painful and stressful experience. Where infidelity prompted the divorce, it’s especially destructive to one’s self-esteem and overall emotional state, which may be reason enough that adultery is enough grounds for divorce in any state. Even so, there’s still the issue of proving that an extra-marital affair has taken place, but what exactly does that take?
What Is The Legal Standard For Proving Adultery?
There are two different scenarios, when it comes to any divorce. Either the couple is in agreement on everything and are amicably separating, or one party is contesting the divorce or some detail about the divorce. Of course, the former situation is preferred, because it allows the parties to sign and submit their paperwork, physically divide up their property, and go their separate ways.
Then there’s the latter, which requires court intervention and a divorce trial. In cases where adultery is alleged, the transgression of the accused party must be proven, but that burden of proof isn’t as heavy as most people assume. In film, one spouse hires a private investigator to follow the other spouse and take compromising pictures of the individual’s trysts, but, in reality, the accusing spouse doesn’t need that level of proof.
In fact, the state of Maryland, in conceding that adultery is “clandestine by nature,” established that it was enough just to prove the defendant is likely to cheat. Specifically, the plaintiff need only show that the defendant is affectionate towards others, more so than any normal person would assume is acceptable. Kissing, hugging, holding hands are all examples of this general disposition.
Physical Evidence That Points To Infidelity
While the burden of proof is less than expected, there still must be some evidence of adultery to be presented at a divorce trial. While testimony as to the defendant’s character is one method of establishing a predilection for adultery, more physical evidence is required. For instance, cell phone records that show a large amount of calls to the same number and placed during late night hours suggest an intimate and secret relationship.
Another possibility is to examine travel records. If the spouse travels often, it might be proven that a particular person travels to those same destinations at the same times. To prove this is more than a coincidence, it must be shown that the two individuals have traveled to the same towns more than three times within a few months.
As previously suggested, the plaintiff might also be able to find witnesses to the spouse’s adultery. Such witnesses need only testify to the relationship between the spouse and the particular person with whom she’s accused of being unfaithful.
Finally, computers, tablets, laptops, and other mobile devices all often contain incriminating evidence of affairs. Obtaining these objects may be difficult, but well worth it in a divorce proceeding.
Divorce battles can get ugly and very personal, especially where infidelity is concerned, but following the advice of an experienced divorce attorney can help. By presenting as much evidence as possible, the strength of an adultery allegation can be bolstered and can go a long way toward influencing the judge’s decision. In the end, making a case for adultery is worth the trouble of gathering proof and witnesses, because it helps to resolve an intolerable situation. Once it’s over, each party can move on and pursue their lives separately.