When is adultery not adultery?
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Were Woods and Nordegran to get divorced in England or Wales, the most logical fact on which a divorce petition could be based would be Woods adultery. But, what impact does any period of cohabitation after the discovery of such adultery have on the ability to rely on it in the divorce proceedings?
Nordegran would not be entitled to rely on adultery committed by Woods if they lived together for a period or periods together which exceed 6 months after the date when the adultery was discovered. The time begins to run when the adultery was discovered. When it was committed is irrelevant. In circumstances of adultery having been committed on more than one occasion, time will not begin to run until after the petitioner learns of the last act of adultery.
This timescale would therefore leave Woods and Nordegran with time to attempt a reconciliation and to work out their differences, although it appears that Nordegran may well already have made up her mind.
The adultery must also be proved. The usual way to do this is by obtaining an admission of infidelity from the Respondent. Woods comments to the press and media could appear to be such a confession, however the court would want something in writing signed by him, not mere assertions in the tabloids.
It is also generally accepted as bad practice to name the third party in the divorce proceedings. There is no need to do so and it does not add anything positive to the divorce process. Instead, it generally has the effect of increasing the acrimony between the parties, and heightening the tension between them at a time at which both are usually at their most vulnerable.
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