Fault Grounds for Divorce: Adultery, Sodomy, Buggery

Posted on Apr 24, 2013 by Katie Carter

These days, a divorce on the grounds of adultery is relatively rare because of the time and expense involved in obtaining it. Still, whenever infidelity is at issue, it's a good idea to make sure you know all your options–just in case.

In Virginia, you can get a divorce on sexual fault grounds if your husband committed adultery, sodomy, or buggery.

Adultery is defined as an adult having sexual intercourse with a person who is not his spouse, and it is grounds for immediate divorce. Sodomy, on the other hand, encompasses oral and anal sex. Buggery, the third sexual fault ground for divorce, includes anal sex and bestiality.

We often allege adultery and sodomy together, because they often go hand in hand. Buggery is a little more antiquated. In fact, I've heard of a lot of things in my practice, but buggery is not one of them. Still, regardless, with any of the sex-based fault grounds, you'll have to prove that the act(s) occurred with strict, satisfactory, and conclusive evidence. Basically, what that means is that your evidence will have to be corroborated (supported) by a third party. A good corroborating witness is someone like a private investigator, who can say that he has knowledge of the affair. Just having copies of texts, emails, cards, or pictures alone isn't enough.

Adultery is rarely a golden ticket, but you may want to speak with an attorney before you decide whether to go for a divorce based on adultery or forego it entirely.