I’m a T.V. junkie. I adore television because for a brief moment I can just absorb myself into something and not think so hard. My mind is always on overdrive, so the brief break is very welcome. However, while watching my Sunday shows last night I began thinking about today’s blog. I was watching Betrayal (ah, now that makes sense). If you haven’t checked out the show, watch it.
The thing is, Betrayal is based on a steamy affair. It begins with a man and woman meeting and having this unbelievable attraction to each other immediately. They begin seeing each other secretly (both of them are married to other people). Of course, their lives are completely tangled up in each other because apparently the woman’s husband and her lover are actually opponents in court, BUT without that little twist, the idea behind the show, betrayal of a spouse is quite common.
This is evidenced by the saturation of adultery in television and the news. From Khloe Kardashian to Scandal (whew, that’s one amazing show) adultery is running rapid on television. People are drawn to these stories. Why? Because art mimics life. Adultery is the epitome of drama. It is secretive, dirty, and messy. It causes pain and pleasure at the same time. People want to hear about it and they want the details.
It’s almost shocking to NOT hear adultery as a reason for divorce. It’s so common that I’m no longer shocked to hear the details of people’s sex lives. It isn’t behind closed doors so much anymore but out in the open. The reason it isn’t such a big deal is because adultery isn’t the end all be all. There is a misconception that adultery means that the adulterer will have to pay alimony or, in the alternative, the adulterer will not receive alimony , or even that it can truly affect custody battles. What does it really mean if you prove your spouse committed adultery?
- It’s a factor in the fault of the divorce. If there were problems way before the adultery started it may not be the actual reason for the divorce. A judge must weigh the facts to determine why the couple is truly getting a divorce. Did the husband belittle his wife, calling her fat and not worth his love for years before she sought another man’s arms? Did the wife wait for her husband to go to work every day to provide for his family before sneaking out to see his brother?
- It’s a factor in determining alimony. It is not means for punishing either spouse. There are a multitude of factors in determining whether a spouse will get alimony. Similar to above, the Judge needs to weigh all the factors to determine fault and to determine the need for alimony.
- It’s a factor in determining custody. Normally if a spouse is committing adultery it is not a reason to deny custody, unless that spouse is being so reckless as to commit the adultery in front of the minor children. If the children are exposed to extremely immoral behavior, the judge will step in. However, if the adultery is happening late at night while the children are asleep or even during the day while the children are at school or daycare, the weight will be much less.
- Adultery isn’t extremely easy to prove. Of course it’s easier than most things in court to prove because the court system realizes that adultery is something that is done in secret, behind closed doors, and (sometimes) in the dark. It is something that people try hard to hide and when they don’t that’s when people get caught. Basically, you have to prove adultery through by having someone testify or give facts in such a way that the court can infer that adultery was committed. (Private investigator’s testimony, a witness who saw your spouse at the motel with the other person, testimony of you walking in on them).
- Post separation sexual relations cannot prove adultery alone. The adultery must have started before married couple decided to get a divorce. If you decide to file for divorce, move out, THEN you decide that you’re going to pursue something, that’s not exactly adultery.
- Adultery IS a crime. It just isn’t one that the state really prosecutes. That means you can plead the 5th when asked about the adultery you committed.