Adultery and divorce

 

Adultery is defined under UK family law as one party to a marriage having sexual relations outside of the marriage with another person of the opposite sex.

If you want to get a divorce on grounds of adultery, a specialist family law solicitor will help you file the application and ensure the process is as smooth as possible.

Is adultery a ground for divorce in the UK?

In cases of divorce, adultery is one of the five main grounds by which a petition may be filed in England and Wales. A divorce can be granted if it can be shown that one party to a marriage has committed adultery.

Interestingly, adultery is counted as an affair with a person of the opposite sex. However, having an affair with a person of the same sex is counted as ‘unreasonable behaviour’, which is another of the five grounds for divorce.

Can either party use adultery as grounds for divorce?

Adultery is only available as a ground for divorce to the innocent party, meaning the person who did not have the affair.

How do you get a divorce based on adultery?

A petition for divorce must be brought within six months of the innocent party finding out that the adultery has been committed.

In applying for a divorce, the innocent spouse should gather evidence on the alleged affair. The evidence would be required by the court to prove the affair occurred. This may include things like:

  • Dates
  • Times
  • Places

It is important to note that the 'co-respondent' (the person with whom the adulterous affair took place) does not have to be named in a petition for divorce. By doing this you would bring the co-respondent into the divorce proceedings and it is unlikely that co-respondent would co-operate with your divorce petition.

Do you need a solicitor?

If you are thinking about divorcing your partner on the grounds of adultery then you should first discuss your case with a solicitor specialising in divorce.

Adultery can be a more complex claim to make than other grounds for divorce, and your spouse may be more likely to contest it. A divorce solicitor will be able to talk you through the process of making an adultery-based divorce and the time limits you have to petition for that divorce.

Can your dispute be resolved through mediation? Look at our page on family law mediation for answers.

Do you need help filing your grounds for divorce? Contact Law can put you in touch with a specialist family law solicitor to help you through the process. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form and we'll call you back.

Call
0800 1777 162
or fill in the form
Our trained advisor contacts you
Your chosen specialist solicitor calls you
Quick enquiry form
Area of law:
Name:
Town/City:
Email:
Phone:
What our clients say about us
"The firm you recommended was extremely helpful. Your service has been very useful indeed and I won't hesitate to contact you again or recommend your service to friends and family." Liz, Family law, South Wales, Aug 13
"I am very grateful for your help...my thanks for listening to the relevant points and surrounding issues and making this recommendation. In a word - excellent!"
Peter, Family law, Oswestry, Feb 14
"I want to thank you for constantly being in touch and providing me with different options. I would highly recommend Contact Law to anyone who needs legal assistance." AP, Employment law, London, Dec 13
"Thank you so much for your recommendation. The solicitor suggested really interesting alternatives, and gave me moral support. I'm so glad I came across your website."
LR, Kingston, Nov 10
"We engaged the solicitor's services and everything has been fantastic. It was such a relief...I wish I had called you earlier and saved myself hours of calls!"
Jaye, Civil litigation, N. Yorks, Feb 13
"Contact Law's solicitors were fantastic and won me the compensation I was hoping for following my accident."

Tom F, PI, Edinburgh, March 09
"Sincere thanks for making things a lot easier for me and my family. When I contacted you initially I really didn't know where to start and was terrified by what costs might be involved."TC, London, March 11
"The service you provided was very good. It was informative, you listened to me and determined the best way forward. Thanks for your help."
JC, Swindon, April 14
"Initially I was sceptical about asking a question online (never having done that before) but would do it again and would recommend others do the same." Pete Chambers, Feb 12
"Thanks for following up. We are going with [the recommended solicitor] and I'm very please with the way you have helped us. I will certainly recommend you to our clients." John, Commercial property law, London, May 13

We use cookies on the Contact Law site to help us improve it.

If you would like to allow our cookies, please click 'Continue' or carry on browsing. For more information on cookies and how to change your settings, click 'More info'.