Family and Divorce Law Jargon Buster: Part 2 – Adultery

June 4, 2013, By Slater Heelis

This is the second instalment in our bitesize blog series in which we hope to demystify some of the legal terms which are frequently used by family solicitors when giving legal advice and in the family courts environment.

ADULTERY: Adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone of the opposite sex who is not their spouse.  In order to rely on adultery in a divorce petition, you must not have lived with the adulterer for a period of 6 months or more after discovering the adultery.  Current law does not include homosexual sex within the definition of adultery and therefore, if this is the reason for the marital breakdown, another option such as an unreasonable behaviour divorce petition should be considered.  It is possible to name the person with whom the adultery was committed within the petition but generally it is considered good practice not to do so in order to reduce unnecessary acrimony and keep legal costs down.

Reference: Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 Section 2(1) & 2(2)

If you need more help or guidance about a family law matter, please contact one of the members of our Family team at Slater Heelis LLP for more information and a free initial consultation on 0845 873 6500 or