It was announced earlier this year that the Fantastic Four actor, Ioan Gruffudd was divorcing his wife of thirteen years, Alice Evans. He went public with his new girlfriend, Bianca Wallace last week and his wife has since made accusations that he was having an affair during the marriage.
Lowri Walters, a Family Solicitor at Simpson Millar’s Cardiff office talks about how the Court addresses adultery, the impact of you or your ex entering into a new relationship whilst still legally married, and financial settlements.
Adultery as the Reason for Divorce
There is one ground for a divorce, and that is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
To show that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, you have to prove one of five reasons – one of which is that one of you has committed adultery.
Adultery in the context of a divorce is the voluntary sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married to each other but at least one of them is married to another person.
Due to the potential legal costs involved in proving adultery in divorce, the person filing for divorce will often ask their partner to admit to the adultery before starting divorce proceedings and get them to sign a confession statement.
The Court will accept an acknowledgment and confession statement as proof that the adultery took place.
If your partner refuses to admit to their adultery or sign a confession statement, you will have to gather and disclose evidence to the Court of the adultery. It’s difficult to prove beyond an intention to commit adultery and an intention to commit alone will not satisfy the Court.
Defended cases can end up costing you more in legal costs because of the time taken to draw up statements as evidence and attend contested Court hearings.
The Impact of New Relationships on Financial Settlements
It is not uncommon for both divorcees to have a new partner and live with them whilst still seeking to reach a financial settlement with their former partner.
When deciding how to divide the matrimonial assets, the Court will primarily consider both of your respective needs.
If one of you is receiving financial support or is reliant on a new partner, the Court is likely to see you as needing less. The Court may take into account the resources of the new partner when considering a fair division of the matrimonial assets.
The Court will also consider the seriousness and strength of any new relationship, its length as well as the needs of the married couple and the new partner’s financial resources.
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