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The Influence of Adultery on Divorce Proceedings in Maryland

Adultery can create emotional turmoil and complications in a marriage, often leading to its dissolution. In Maryland, it’s essential to understand how adultery can impact the divorce process. The implications can be significant, affecting everything from the grounds for divorce to financial settlements and even child custody. In Maryland, adultery is one of the fault-based grounds for divorce. That means if one spouse has engaged in an extramarital affair, the other spouse can use this as a basis to file for divorce. Unlike other grounds, there’s no waiting period for a divorce due to adultery, so the process may move forward quickly.

Adultery and Alimony in Maryland

In Maryland, the court may consider adultery when deciding alimony or spousal support during a divorce. Particularly, if the spouse seeking alimony is the one who committed adultery, this behavior might influence the judge’s decision. However, the impact of adultery on alimony is not absolute. The primary focus of Maryland courts in these cases is to ensure economic fairness. The judge will primarily consider each spouse’s financial situation, including their ability to support themselves, the time it may take the receiving spouse to find suitable employment, and the lifestyle established during the marriage.

The influence of adultery on alimony can be a complex aspect to decipher in a divorce proceeding. While adultery may be a consideration, it does not overshadow the aim of alimony – which is not to punish the adulterous spouse, but rather to prevent undue financial hardship following the divorce. Other factors such as the length of the marriage, age and health of the spouses, and the paying spouse’s ability to meet their own needs while providing support are also considered.

Adultery and Child Custody in Maryland

In Maryland, child custody decisions center around the “best interests of the child” principle. As such, the courts prioritize the child’s welfare over any misconduct of the parents, including adultery. While a parent’s extramarital affairs can evoke strong emotions, adultery in itself does not typically sway child custody or visitation rights. A key thing to note is that a parent’s behavior is examined closely only if it has a direct or indirect negative effect on the child. For instance, if the adultery has led to neglect, introduced the child to inappropriate situations, or caused emotional distress — it may factor into the court’s custody decisions. However, without such proven adverse impact, adultery tends not to tilt the scale in child custody rulings.

Adultery and Property Division in Maryland

Property division during a divorce is governed by the principle of equitable distribution. Under this principle, the court aims to divide marital property in a manner it deems fair and just, which may not necessarily be equal. While aspects like alimony and potentially child custody may be influenced by adultery, the division of marital property typically remains unaffected. In essence, the courts primarily focus on a fair distribution based on the financial situation of each spouse, regardless of marital misconduct such as adultery.

It is important to understand that “equitable” does not mean a 50-50 split but rather a division that the court believes is fair, considering factors like the duration of the marriage, contributions of each spouse to the acquisition of property, and the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time of division. Despite the emotional tumult that adultery might bring, it generally does not have a bearing on this aspect of the divorce proceedings. 

Reach Out to Jimeno & Gray, P.A., Skilled Maryland Divorce Attorneys

Navigating a divorce involving adultery can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. It’s crucial to understand your rights and the potential implications on various aspects of the divorce process. Having knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at your side can provide invaluable guidance. The impact of adultery on a divorce in Maryland is multifaceted and can vary depending on the circumstances of your case. At Jimeno & Gray, P.A., we can guide you through this process, ensuring your interests are protected. Contact us today at 410-590-9401 to schedule a consultation.

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