Q&A - My husband had sex with his male friend. Can I divorce him for adultery?

02/05/2016

Q: I have found out my husband has been sleeping with his male friend from work. He says they have been secretly meeting for 10 months, having sex in his car and occasionally in our marital bed. Can I divorce him for adultery and what will happen?

A: The term ‘Adultery’ involves sexual relations between one party to the marriage and an outside party of the opposite sex. If the sexual relationship is with a same sex person, or if the relationship is not sexual, that is not adultery. It would instead be termed "unreasonable behaviour".

All divorces are based upon the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage which is proved by one of five different facts, namely Adultery; Unreasonable Behaviour;  Desertion; Separation for two years by consent; Separation for five years without consent.

When the Family Court receives a Petition on one of these five grounds it will be issued and posted to the other Party (the Respondent), together with a Form of Acknowledgment of Service to ascertain whether the Respondent intends to defend the Petition or disagrees with its contents. When the Respondent returns the Form to the Court a copy will be sent to the Petitioner who then completes a signed statement confirming that the contents of the Petition are true and making any necessary amendments or additions. This statement is filed at Court with an application for a Decree Nisi.  

If the District Judge is satisfied that the Petitioner is entitled to a Decree of Divorce he will issue a Certificate of Entitlement giving a date for the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi in Open Court.  Neither party need attend the pronouncement unless they wish to oppose it or apply for costs. The Petitioner can apply for the Decree Nisi to be made Absolute six weeks and one day from the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi.

Nathan Wright

Nathan Wright

Partner

A Partner specialising in Family and Matrimonial Law

Alison Peters

Alison Peters

Partner

A Partner in our Family and Matrimonial department in Oswestry