Insights into How Adultery Affects the Virginia Divorce Process [and More FAQs]

Q: What is the official legal terminology for the “other man” or “other woman”?

The courts often call this person the paramour. The paramour is not a party to the case, but in some cases can become involved as a witness, or implicated in other evidence.

Q: What does it mean to say someone “condoned” the adultery?

Let’s say that you learned that your husband cheated on you, but you continued to live with him and stay married to him for several more months before leaving. The court could interpret your action as “condonation” of the behavior – that you forgave the act – and may not allow you to obtain a “fault” divorce.

Q: But what if you didn’t actually “condone” the behavior but just struggled to make a decision about whether or not to leave?

The courts will consider this fact as well. And if your spouse engages in adultery a subsequent time — after you let the first incident slide — you can use the second incident as grounds because each incident constitutes a separate ground for divorce.

Q: What is “hearsay,” and how might hearsay affect a divorce case?

Hearsay is indirect testimony provided by a witness. For instance, let’s say that your sister heard from her neighbor that your husband kissed another woman at a café. Your sister’s testimony would be considered “hearsay,” because she did not directly observe the critical event. The sister’s neighbor, on the other hand, could directly testify about the public display of affection.

Q: What legal terms will the court use to describe you and your spouse during the divorce?

The person who files for the divorce is the plaintiff; the other spouse is the defendant. If a counter-claim is filed (essentially means a Complaint for divorce filed by the defendant against the plaintiff), then the parties will also be known as counter-defendant and counter-plaintiff. Ask your attorney at DiPietro Family Law Group, PLLC more about counterclaims and whether it is appropriate to file one in your case.

Q: Where will your divorce case be filed?

The plaintiff has some discretion in regards to venue. In general, the city or county in Virginia where you and your spouse last lived together will be considered the venue. However, the plaintiff has the option to choose where the defendant currently resides as the venue.

Q: What if the defendant doesn’t live in Virginia right now?

Then the proper venue will still be where the husband and wife last resided, or could be where the plaintiff currently lives, because technically every circuit court in Virginia would have jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is state-wide, and venue is more specific as to county or city.

If you need assistance now with your Fairfax, Virginia divorce, call our team at DiPietro Law Group, PLLC right now for a consultation at (888) 530-4374.

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