My wife is with another man, can I divorce her on the grounds of adultery?

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Divorce on Thursday, June 1st, 2017

If your wife is having a sexual relationship with a member of the opposite sex while you are still married, then this is adultery. This is the case even if your relationship with your wife has come to an end, or you have been living apart for some time. Adultery is one of the five facts that can be used to prove that a marriage has broken down irretrievably, and is grounds for divorce.

Adultery, together with unreasonable behaviour, is one of the most widely used reasons for divorce. However, you will need to be able to prove it. If your wife is prepared to admit to having committed to adultery, then this can be a quicker route to divorce and will be accepted as reasonable grounds. You will also need to be prepared to state that, as a result, you find it intolerable to continue living with her.

However, if your spouse is not prepared to admit that sexual intercourse has taken place, you could cite the fact that she is living with another man and file for divorce on the grounds of her unreasonable behaviour.


Important factors

You should be aware that there is a time limit for divorce on the grounds of adultery. You would need to petition for divorce within six months of becoming aware that your wife has committed adultery. Otherwise it will be deemed that you have condoned the adultery. In addition, you would need to be living apart.

If your wife has committed adultery, you do not have to name the third party, it isn’t a legal requirement to do so. Many people can feel very angry and hurt and want to do this to name and shame the person involved, however doing so can complicate matters. Not only can naming a co-respondent make your dealings with your wife more acrimonious, but can also lead to delays if the co-respondent refuses to sign papers admitting to the adultery.

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