According to one study, more than 50 per cent of married men and 26 per cent of married women are likely to stray at least once during their marriage.Today, by coincidence, I saw a new client whose wife had been advertising for a quick fling on a website catering for illicit affairs between married people.Yesterday I appeared in my Legal Clinic on covers any sexual activity. It refers only to sexual intercourse between a consenting man and woman, one or both of whom are already married to other people.Lesser forms of “sexual gratification”, as one court put it, are not sufficient to prove adultery.One way of counterbalancing the petition is not to defend it, but to file a statement explaining why you believe the marriage broke down before the adultery occurred.Prince Charles took this course of action, very publicly, during his divorce from Princess Diana. That if you petition for divorce on the basis of adultery, you are entitled to a larger settlement. Adultery alone is not regarded by the court as conduct which would be inequitable to disregard.A quick look at the website in question was eye-opening!There are hundreds of married people, of both sexes, advertising for casual sex with strangers.
If your spouse has sexual intercourse with another while married to you, it is adultery.Conduct that is “gross and obvious” would affect a divorce settlement.For example, I once had a case where the wife repeatedly stabbed the husband and left him with serious incapacity for life.An extra-marital relationship between two people of the same sex is considered an improper association.A petition for dissolution of a civil partnership can be filed on the basis of unreasonable behaviour instead. That adultery before marriage will still count if you learn about it after the marriage.But in order to petition for divorce, you have to establish not only that adultery has taken place, but also that you find it intolerable to live with your spouse.If you have already separated the first part is correct, but the second is not.The potential for divorce when an unsuspecting spouse turns on the family computer and finds the incriminating evidence, as in my client’s case, is pretty substantial.But is it sufficient to found a petition based upon adultery?It is still adultery, if the other party is still married to somebody else at the time.And if one party has been raped, is under 16 or if consent has been obtained by fraud, sexual intercourse in any of those circumstances is not adultery.