Q&As

Where the respondent does not admit adultery, how may it be proved?

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Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 26/10/2016

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where the respondent does not admit adultery, how may it be proved?

Where the respondent does not admit adultery, how may it be proved?

In order for a court to find that a marriage has irretrievably broken down, the court must be satisfied of one or more of the following facts, pursuant to section 1 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973):

  1. the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent (note there are two parts to this test)

  2. the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent

  3. desertion for a continuous period of at least two years prior to the petition

  4. two years of separation with consent

  5. five years of separation

If the petitioner does seek to rely on adultery as the ground for divorce, a number of points should be borne in mind.

Firstly, the adultery relied upon by the petitioner cannot be the adultery of the petitioner, it must be the adultery of the respondent.

Secondly, the petitioner cannot rely on adultery if, after that adultery became known to him or her, the parties have lived together for a period exceeding six months. For this purpose, adultery refers to one act of adultery. Therefore, where the adultery continues, time will not run until the last act of adultery.

Thirdly, the petitioner must not only satisfy the court that the respondent

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