Private Investigators In Virginia

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Adultery in Virginia–Proving It

Posted by Bill on October 11, 2009

A popular topic in Virginia law is adultery. (NOTE: NO LEGAL OPINION HERE)  Usually, adultery is considered in light of grounds for divorce.  In Virginia there are two kinds of divorces: 1. bed and board divorce and 2. absolute divorce.  I am not going to bother using the latin terms that the Commonwealth favors, but suffice to say that the bed and board divorce amounts to a perpetual separation protecting persons and property. If you get a b&b divorce, you cannot remarry during the life of your ex spouse.  An absolute divorce, permanent and you can remarry, may be granted on one of three fault grounds or on a no-fault separation ground.

Adultery is one of the three grounds for an absolute divorce.  So, what is adultery? A person who, being married, voluntarily has sexual intercourse with another person who is not his/her spouse commits adultery.  If a spouse finds out about the adulterous act, he/she could file for an immediate divorce, but to get the divorce based on adultery, you must prove adultery by clear and convincing evidence based upon proven facts and reasonable inferences drawn from the facts. The Virginia courts have said that “strongly suspicious circumstances are insufficient.”

So, adultery can be proven based on circumstantial as well as direct evidence. It all depends on the facts in a case. A lot depends whether the trier of fact finds the witnesses credible. In addition, adultery grounds must be corroborated by a third party other than the husband/wife. Many people use private investigators to gather evidence of adultery, and the investigators may testify about their investigation.  The Virginis courts have noted in the past that a private investigator’s testimony will be subjected to the strictest scrutiny by the courts and acted upon with caution. 

In next post I will give examples from various Virginia cases dealing with adultery.

Bill Lowrance

NOTE: I am not giving legal opinion and I am not your lawyer if you read this page.

If you want my legal opinion contact me at 703 506 1600,


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