The break-up of a marriage is always painful, and perhaps even more so when one of the partners is accused of having an affair. Adultery, whether committed by the husband or the way, remains one of those things that can be difficult to get past. For the spouse who was cheated on, there are generally a whole range of unpleasant emotions to deal with, such as feeling betrayed, disillusioned, and wondering what if anything you did or did not do that could have made your spouse want to stray from your marriage. In most cases, the behavior of a cheating spouse says more about them then it does you, but an adulterous affair and how you handle it can have serious legal ramifications if you are thinking about or are in the process of getting a divorce.
Adultery as a Grounds for Divorce
According to an article on infidelity by relationship expert Dr. Laura Berman on the website Everyday Health, over 50 percent of men and approximately 34 percent of women who cheated on their spouses claimed to actually be happy in their marriage. The article also cites studies which claim that adultery is not the main reason most couples divorce; instead, the majority of couples cite lack of communication and feelings of having ‘drifted apart’ as being the main factors in their decision to split. While that may be the case, adultery is still a valid reason to end a marriage in the eyes of the law. Under Section 20-3-10 of the state Code of Laws, there are five legal grounds for divorce in South Carolina. These are:
- Desertion for a period of one year;
- Physical cruelty;
- Habitual drunkenness; and
- In cases where the husband and wife have lived separate and apart for a period of one year or more.
In cases involving adultery, filing for divorce on those grounds could prevent the cheating partner from being entitled to alimony or support, and it could also have an effect on custody issues and division of property. At the same time, in order to get a judge to grant an order for the divorce on the basis of adultery, you need to prove it occurred.
Proving Your Spouse Cheated
While you may know for a fact that your spouse was unfaithful, proving adultery in divorce proceedings is often easier said than done. While the court realizes you may not be able to actually catch your spouse in the act, case law dictates that you should have evidence that shows both the inclination and the opportunity to have an affair. Evidence proving inclination and opportunity includes the following:
- Telephone bills showing calls between the parties;
- Hotel and restaurant receipts from evening they spent together;
- Extended trips out of town;
- Receipts for flowers or gifts;
- Notes, emails, and texts; and
- Voicemails, videos, or other recordings between the parties.
Social media has played an increasingly role in extramarital affairs, and often there is evidence on these sites to sufficiently prove some form of an affair occurred. Your attorney can use forensics to do a sweep of your spouse’s computer, and can get a subpoena to obtain statements from restaurant or hotel employees who may have spotted your spouse and the other party together. Bear in mind though, when proving adultery, it is important that you did not acknowledge and forgive the adultery during the marriage. This is called condonation. Under most circumstances, forgiving an adulterous spouse means surrendering your right to file for divorce on the basis of adultery.
Contact an Experienced South Carolina Family Law Attorney
If you are contemplating or involved in divorce proceedings, consult with an experienced South Carolina family law attorney today. At Lauren Taylor Law, we have experience in handling sensitive matters pertaining to divorce, alimony, and custody, and can provide you the guidance you need to protect your rights as well as your assets. Serving the entire upstate area, our Greenville attorney provides the legal representation you need, while looking out for your best interests. Contact our office today at (864) 326-2888 for an initial consultation.
South Carolina divorce attorney Lauren Taylor is an authority on family law in Charleston and Greenville. She graduated from the Charlotte School of Law, and has been practicing for more than ten years.
Since the firm’s inception in 2012, Mrs. Taylor has helped hundreds of people navigate the uncertainties surrounding the family and criminal court process.
She has cultivated a team that ensures each case has a strategy crafted specifically to the clients needs and desires.
Her commitment to top notch service has led her to open two additional offices in the low country where she now resides with her husband Michael and her golden retriever, Buster.