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Breakdown: Proving Adultery in a Mississippi Divorce

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Adultery, Divorce

There are 12 ‘fault-based’ grounds for divorce in Mississippi. One of them is adultery. Adultery, like most of the other fault grounds, must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.

What Does Adultery Legally Mean in Mississippi?

So, let’s start with a definition.

Mississippi law defines adultery as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than their spouse; and, that includes sexual contact between persons of the same sex.

Just a single act of adultery can be enough to justify a divorce, including when the adultery occurs after the parties have separated.

Two Types of Evidence for Adultery

There are two types of evidence you can gather to try to prove adultery in a Mississippi divorce.

The first kind of evidence is direct evidence, and that can include:

  • Your spouse’s admission – they told you what happened.
  • Spouse’s boyfriend/girlfriend’s admission – someone else told you what happened.
  • Admissible photographs or recordings – visual or audio proof of what happened.

The second kind of evidence is circumstantial evidence. Because adultery is often secretive, and difficult to prove, circumstantial evidence would create an inference that the adultery occurred, based on specific circumstances.  However, the circumstantial evidence must be such that it excludes any other reasonable explanation for the behavior.

To successfully prove adultery using circumstantial evidence, you’ll need to establish two key elements:

  1. Adulterous Inclination or Infatuation with another: This shows your spouse had a desire to cheat. It can be proven by evidence of flirtatious behavior, romantic emails/texts, or an established infatuation with another person.
  2. Opportunity: This demonstrates your spouse had the opportunity to act on their desires. Perhaps your spouse was out of town, at the same business conference with the person you believe they are cheating with.

Circumstantial evidence cases are often proven with the use of:

  • Phone records
  • Hotel receipts
  • Credit card statements
  • Admissible computer files

Key Considerations:

There are a couple of additional items to consider, when it comes to adultery in a marriage.

  • There is a concept known as ‘condonation’.  That means that If you continue marital relations after discovering the infidelity, that may constitute a defense to adultery.
  • Also, be mindful of Mississippi’s privacy laws when you’re trying to collect evidence against your spouse. Avoid methods like installing spyware or going through your spouse’s phone without permission.

The Role of an Attorney

Navigating the complexities of proving adultery can be challenging. A lawyer can help you to assess your case, gather evidence, represent you in court, and protect your child or children’s best interests throughout the process.

If you’d like to talk to an attorney, you can contact my office at 601-825-3124 to set up an initial consultation.

[This post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Consult with an attorney to discuss your specific situation.]