By definition, adultery refers to voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and another person who is not his or her spouse. In the context of filing for divorce from your spouse on the basis of adultery, there are a few things that you need to take note of.

There are two elements that need to be fulfilled. Firstly, there has to be proof that adultery has been committed and secondly, the plaintiff has to prove that this act has made it intolerable to live with the defendant.

So how does one prove adultery? And what are the options available to him/her to file for divorce on the grounds of adultery?

    • The most important question that needs to be asked is, was there sexual intercourse  between the defendant and the third party? Sexual intercourse in this case refers to penetration.
    • Was the sexual intercourse committed with a member of the opposite sex?

As long as sexual intercourse has been involved, it is adultery. However, if the defendant and third party had only remained intimate through text messages, phone calls or even physical contact but falling short of actual penetrative sex, then it cannot be defined as such although it could be used as indirect evidence to prove adultery.

Secondly, the definition of adultery in law only applies to the defendant and a third party of the opposite sex. This means that if the third party is of the same sex as the defendant, it’s not considered adultery and therefore, not the appropriate grounds to seek divorce.

Certain components need to be fulfilled for divorce to be filed on the basis of adultery.

    • Upon discovery of the adulterous relationship, the plaintiff must not continue living together with the defendant for six or more months. This means divorce proceedings must be made as soon as the plaintiff has confirmed suspicions that his/her spouse has committed adultery.
    • Both plaintiff and defendant have to be married for three or more years. However, in a case where they are married for a period much shorter than that, it is highly recommended to engage a specialist divorce lawyer to get further advice as there may be the possibility that the court might grant divorce even if the marriage hasn’t reached the three year mark.

Besides proving adultery, the plaintiff will also need to prove that he or she is unable to continue living with the defendant. To determine this, the court will need to consider if a reasonable person in the plaintiff’s position would find it intolerable to live with the defendant. Assessments will also be made by the court regarding the personalities and circumstances unique to the parties. To better understand what this means, speak to a specialist divorce lawyer who will advise you accordingly.

Once adultery is proven, the court may order the defendant to pay for the cost of the divorce proceedings and if a private investigator had been hired throughout this process, the court may order the defendant to pay for the private investigator’s fees too. However, this is up to the court’s discretion.

Our Criminal Lawyer, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, has defended numerous clients over the years over a wide variety of offences. With vast experience in Singapore’s laws, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, or if you have been caught in a similar situation, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

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