Members of the Virginia legislature have concluded their work for the 2020 session. Included in their passed bills was a major change to Virginia Code § 8.01-223.1 concerning the assertion of constitutional rights in civil actions. The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2020, will make proving adultery easier in divorce and other family law cases in Virginia.
Parties in Virginia civil actions have previously had broad protection of their constitutional rights, and courts have been entirely prohibited from using any assertion of constitutional rights against them. Beginning July 1, 2020, when a party to a family law case invokes their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuses to answer questions regarding their alleged adultery, judges may now make an “adverse inference” against that party.
Adultery is a crime in Virginia—a Class 4 misdemeanor under Virginia Code § 18.2-365. … Read More »