In Virginia, proving adultery is difficult because you have to have a corroborating witness. It’s not enough for you to tell the court that your husband has committed adultery, even if you have pictures, cards, text messages, or other evidence to back up your claims. It’s not enough even if your husband admits to you that he has committed adultery.
It may seem unfair, but mostly it’s about the integrity of the court. The judge doesn’t want to slap your husband with a label that could have a seriously negative impact on the rest of the divorce without requiring you to make a real showing that demonstrates that your allegations are true. An adultery case is about what you can prove through evidence, and though the cards, texts, and pictures are good supplementary evidence, you’ll need to have your evidence corroborated.
So, what does that mean? In most cases, it means you’ll have to hire a private investigator. If you want to demonstrate that adultery has occurred, you’ll have to demonstrate that your husband had a definite opportunity. Let me be clear: adultery is not about going to dinner, hand holding, or kissing good night. Adultery is about sex. That doesn’t mean, of course, that we have to get a video or a picture of the actual act—that would be gross! In order to prove that he truly had an opportunity, your private investigator will normally have to have an all-night stake out, where he shows your husband and the other woman going into a house or hotel room, monitor all the exits, and show that they re-emerged the following morning.
Be careful, though. Before you go out and hire a private investigator, it’s a good idea to speak with an attorney. Find out whether you really need to prove adultery to make or break your case. In most cases, adultery is not a golden ticket, so you don’t want to waste a lot of time and money proving something that isn’t going to make a real difference to you.
If you and your attorney make the decision to move forward on the adultery claim, you should also choose your private investigator wisely. Ask your attorney for suggestions. Usually, she will be able to give you a list of appropriate people from whom to choose. Remember that a good private investigator must be able to do two things: investigate your husband, and handle testifying and being cross-examined in court. You’ll want an investigator who is good at both!
It’s easy to let your emotions run away with you when you find out about or begin to suspect adultery. For the sake of your divorce, though, take a deep breath and step back before you charge forward. Meet with an experienced Virginia divorce attorney, come up with a plan, and make the best decisions for you that you possibly can.