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 »
Though most states today have declassified adultery as a crime, adultery continues to be a criminally punishable offense (class 4 misdemeanor) in Virginia. Because adultery is still a crime in Virginia, a spouse accused of adultery in a Virginia divorce case may invoke his or her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Which means that the opposing party’s divorce lawyer may not simply call the accused spouse to the witness stand and force them to answer questions pertaining to the alleged adultery.
However, there is a one-year statute of limitations on the crime of adultery in Virginia, which means that a person can no longer be punished for committing adultery one year after the last adulterous act. This means that, back to our divorce case, the opposing divorce lawyer can ask questions related to affairs where the last adulterous acts occurred more … Read More »
Under Virginia law, cheating on a spouse is illegal. In Virginia, any married person who voluntarily has sexual intercourse with a person who is not his or her spouse is guilty of adultery, which is punishable as a Class 4 misdemeanor. The maximum criminal penalty for adultery is a $250 fine, but the ramifications in a divorce action may be much more severe. Adultery can be used as a fault ground to obtain a divorce, may be a bar to spousal support and can be considered regarding child custody and equitable distribution of marital property.
Even so, what happens when a cheating spouse invokes his or her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination? In Virginia, a party can exercise his or her constitutional privilege against self-incrimination in both criminal and civil actions. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a cheating spouse’s … Read More »
Family law encompasses many issues affecting families, including but not limited to divorce, child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, protective orders, pre/post-nuptial agreements and equitable distribution. With so much information on the internet, it may be difficult to get accurate answers about certain issues. Below, we debunk four common myths of family law in Virginia.
Myth #1: once a divorce is filed, the court cannot grant any relief until the end of the case.
This is false: circuit courts can grant temporary relief while a divorce suit is pending. Once a divorce suit is filed in circuit court, either party may file a motion for “pendente lite” (pending final resolution) relief. Pursuant to Virginia Code § 20-103, the court may then enter a pendente lite order:
to compel a spouse to pay monies necessary for the maintenance and support of the petitioning … Read More »
So, you think, or you know, that your spouse is cheating on you. As devastating as this discovery can be, many people are just as devastated to find out that Virginia law can, and often does, protect the adulterer.
In Virginia, adultery is defined as the act of sexual intercourse by a married person with any person who is not their spouse. It is a ground for divorce under Virginia Code § 20-91. It is also illegal, a Class 4 misdemeanor according to Virginia Code § 18.2-365. While adultery as a crime is rarely, if ever, prosecuted, the fact that adultery is still technically illegal in Virginia has a significant impact on many divorce cases.
For a court to grant a divorce on the ground of adultery, Virginia law requires proof by “clear and convincing” evidence, a higher standard of proof than other grounds … Read More »