Adultery – If You Condone It, You May Have To Own It

One of the grounds for fault-based divorce which is recognized by the State of Mississippi is adultery. Adultery occurs when a married man or woman engages in consensual sexual intercourse with an adult who is not their spouse. While you may be aware that you can sue your spouse for divorce if they commit adultery, you may not know that the court may decline to grant you a divorce on those grounds if you have in some way condoned or forgiven the adulterous behavior.

When a spouse is sued for divorce on one of the grounds for fault which are recognized by the State of Mississippi, they have the opportunity to request that the court not grant the divorce by presenting a defense to the allegations that have been brought against them. The most common defense to allegations of adultery is that the non-offending spouse condoned the conduct of the adulterous spouse. Condonation is a legal term which means “conditional forgiveness”, and it is essential that people whose lives have been touched by adultery understand what it looks like in real life, because it is often misunderstood.

One common misunderstanding regarding condonation is that it occurs when a married couple lives together after an incident of adultery has occurred. It is important for people to understand that merely living together after an incident of adultery has taken place does not, on its own, constitute condonation. This is a good thing, especially when you consider the practicalities of the situation. Even if a spouse were to immediately decide that they were going to leave their adulterous husband or wife, it would take some time to put that decision into action, especially if the couple has children. The spouse who was going to leave would have to secure a new place to live, as well as figure out how they would afford it. If there are children involved, they would also have to figure out how they would address the issues of custody and visitation.

Since condonation of adultery requires more than just living together after adultery has occurred, it makes sense to explain what “more” is. One thing which must be present in order for condonation to be a possibility is awareness of the adultery. A person cannot condone that which they are unaware of. In addition to continuing to live in the marital home after learning that their spouse has committed adultery, the innocent spouse must also have resumed their sexual relationship with their husband or wife for condonation to occur.

Another complication which can arise in situations where condonation is raised as a defense to a divorce on the grounds of adultery is that the defense is only available if the adulterous behavior does not resume or continue. This condition makes sense, when you consider that condonation is conditional forgiveness, and not forgiveness with no strings attached. An innocent spouse welcomes an adulterous spouse back into their arms on the condition that no more adultery will occur. If a spouse goes back to his or her adulterous ways after the non-offending spouse attempted to forgive the initial bad act, the court will find that there is cause for divorce.

If your spouse has committed adultery, a Mississippi Divorce Attorney can help you to understand your options under the Mississippi divorce laws. Depending upon the facts of your situation, you may be able to divorce your spouse based on the grounds of adultery. Mississippi Divorce Attorney Matthew S. Poole has a great deal of knowledge and experience in the area of Mississippi divorce law. His skill has helped him to achieve favorable results for his clients. To find out how Matthew can help you, please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free consultation.