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Your ex has committed adultery - should you name the other person in your divorce?

Posted on 6th October, 2017

When clients contact us for a divorce because their husband or wife has cheated, they often say that they want to name the other person.  Understandable though that is, it's often not the best course of action.

 

In any divorce, it is preferable to keep things as amicable as possible - difficult though that might seem at the time. Your ex might be more willing to agree to a divorce (saving you time, effort and costs) if you are willing to keep the other person's name out of it (and here's a little tip - for the purposes of your divorce petition, the adultery could have taken place after you separated but while you were still married, which is sufficient for the court and might be more palatable to your ex).

 

There aren't any particular 'benefits' to naming the other person in your divorce. You might want them to have to take the blame for the breakdown of your marriage, but the reality is that no one else will see the divorce papers (apart from the court staff and the judge, who

 

won't be shocked by anything - they've seen it all before!).

 

Putting the blame on your ex and the other person won't mean that the court looks any more favourably on you when considering finances or arrangements for your children either. The court doesn't consider who was to blame for the breakdown of the marriage when looking at anything other than checking that you have sufficient grounds to divorce.

 

When you name the other person, they have to be 'served' with the divorce papers, which means that the documents will be sent to them by the court. You might think that's a good thing, but actually it means you get another person involved who could potentially object and delay your divorce. If they decide to contest the divorce, for example by saying there simply was no adultery, the whole divorce case will become much more lengthy and costly, and might have to involve court hearings which might otherwise not have been necessary.

 

Similarly, the other person might simply refuse to sign the papers to enable the divorce to proceed. Whilst this doesn't mean they can stop the process indefinitely, it will require you to take further steps, and most likely incur further costs, to try to progress the divorce. It will also mean that your divorce takes longer than it needed to.

 

Finally, note that you have to have evidence of a sexual relationship between your ex and a person of the opposite sex for it to be classed as adultery (and note that adultery isn't available as a basis for divorce with a same sex marriage or civil partnership). If your ex (and the other person if you name them) won't admit it, it's very difficult to prove that it took place. If you can't prove a sexual relationship has taken place, you can still use the circumstances in an unreasonable behaviour petition (for example, the text messages you saw on your ex's phone) but again, it's important to note that if you name the other person anywhere in any divorce petition, they'll have to become involved in the divorce proceedings.  

 

Overall, there is usually no need to name the other person in a divorce and, in fact, doing so might cause you more stress and heartache in the long run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paula Tanner 

Former solicitor and founder of Ethos Family Solutions

 

Need some help?

01792 420581

family@ethosfamilysolutions.co.uk

www.ethosfamilysolutions.co.uk

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