Longridge: 01772 783314 | Garstang: 01995 602129 | Lancaster: 01524 581306 
 
Longridge: 01772 783 314 
Garstang: 01995 602 129 
Lancaster: 01524 581 306 

Can I issue a petition for divorce on my own adultery? 

A petitioner (ie the person applying for a divorce) cannot rely on their own adultery. 
 
Section 1(2)(a) of the Matrimonial Causes Act defines the fact of adultery as :- ‘the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent’ 
 
Both parts of the definition need to be shown, so not only does there have to be adultery, the petitioner needs to find it intolerable to live with the respondent. 
Adultery was defined as consensual sexual intercourse between a person who is lawfully married and someone who is not their spouse’. It has always been the case that the person with whom adultery was being committed must be a person of the opposite sex but on 13th March 2014 a new Section 1(6) was added to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which clarified that only conduct between the respondent and a person of the opposite sex may constitute adultery following the introduction of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2014. 
 
In relation to whether the petitioner does find it intolerable to live with the respondent, we need to look at what stage the parties separated. If the petitioner found out about the adultery but the parties continued to live with each other as husband and wife for one continuous period or several periods which when added together exceed six months, then a petition cannot be based on adultery and behaviour must be used. 
 
Therefore, if a petitioner discovers the adultery in say April but continues living with the spouse as husband and wife until November or after, then adultery cannot be used. Alternatively, if for example, the parties stay together for say three months after the adultery has been discovered, then separate but then try to give things another go, and they are together for over three months before separating again, adultery cannot be used. In both circumstances the petitioner will have to rely on behaviour but they can still refer to the adultery as part of the behaviour. 
 
If you continue to live with your spouse for less than six months after discovering the adultery or any attempt or attempts at reconciliation, when added together, do not exceed six months, then a petition can be brought on the basis of adultery. 
 
It is also important to note that separation can occur even though the parties remain living under the same roof. Provided that you are not sleeping in the same bed, not cooking or cleaning for each other, not eating meals together, not spending time with each other and not socialising together, then you can be classed as “separated”. The date of separation does not necessarily mean the date that someone physically moved out of the marital home as, in a lot of cases, neither can afford to and they have no friends or family that they can stay with temporarily. 
 
In order for an adultery petition to be successful, the respondent will however have to admit that they have committed adultery. It is therefore advisable for a Form of Admission to be sent to the respondent for them to sign and return to the family lawyer before any petition is finalised. If the form is not returned or the respondent makes it clear that they will not be admitting to the adultery, then it would be better to rely on behaviour but the adultery can still be mentioned. 

Get in touch and talk to a family law expert now. 

Understanding, professional and completely deidcated to your cause; contact MG Legal's family law experts and we will get back to you within one business hour. 
You never know what life will throw at you, and there are times when you need the best advice on Family Issues; even if it’s just to put your mind at rest. 
 
Our leading family law experts offer an initial 30 minute consultation and pride ourselves on client care (so, basically looking after you), and negotiating the best settlement to suit your requirements. 

Divorce and separation needn't be stressful. 

Knowing that everyone is different, MG Legal offer a bespoke service to each and every one of our clients, and our advice will be clear, to the point, and unique to your situation. 
 
Our experienced team, headed by our specialist family and divorce lawyer, Sara Williams, will deal with your problems in a stress-free environment, and will speak with you in non-legal jargon that you will understand. 

Why choose MG Legal? 

Well, there is nothing our expert family lawyers haven't seen or done in the family courts. We know that the advice given could affect the rest of your life: so we sit and listen, advise the options and then do more than any other legal team to get you what you want. Our success rates are second to none - read our reviews. 
 
Make sure you choose the right legal team to back you.  
MG Legal – Your Local Solicitors (and YES, we are here to help!) 

We're here for you; the areas of divorce we can help with. 

No fault divorce 
Finances 
Pensions and divorce 
Fixed Fee Divorce 
Out of court divorce 
Out of court settlement offers 
Annulment 
Divorce Fees 
International Divorce 
Arbitration in divorce 
Contested and uncontested divorce 
Court orders 
Seperation agreements 
Our site uses cookies. For more information, see our cookie policy. Accept cookies and close
Reject cookies Manage settings