Most people know that a spouse can obtain a divorce on the grounds of adultery, when a partner has a physical affair with another man or woman. Often times, though, physical affairs begin with rather simple flirting or chatting, sometimes referred to as emotional affairs. A spouse may find emails or text messages where he or she sees inappropriate communications, which are entirely damaging, but not exactly adultery. This topic has become prevalent recently with the rise in social media and online dating websites, where a spouse enjoys the flirting, but doesn’t intend to do anything further.
When Is an Emotional Affair Grounds for Divorce?
Oftentimes clients come to us and ask about their options when they suspect their partner is engaging in an emotional affair. They are hurt by their spouse’s breach of trust and find the communications just as damaging as a physical affair. What can they do, though, when Maryland law requires a physical relationship to grant a divorce on the grounds of adultery?
Grounds of Adultery in Maryland Divorce Law
In Maryland, spouses have the option to file for divorce on the grounds of desertion. Desertion exists in two forms:
- Actual: one spouse physically abandons the other; and
- Constructive: one party is forced to leave the marriage due to their spouse’s misconduct.
As grounds for divorce in Maryland, desertion occurs when:
- One spouse has been gone for 12 months, without interruption, before the other filed for divorce;
- The desertion was deliberate and final; and
- There is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
In constructive desertion, a party can abandon the marriage because his or her spouse’s conduct is so offensive that remaining in the marriage would force the innocent spouse to lose their self-respect.
Whether the facts of your case warrant a divorce filing on the grounds of constructive desertion for an emotional affair requires careful examination by a sensible and seasoned family law attorney. There are many factors that may support or undermine a claim for constructive desertion if your spouse has engaged in misconduct that forces you to abandon the marriage.
If you are uncertain whether your emotional affair case warrants filing on the grounds of constructive desertion, contact the family law attorneys at Andalman & Flynn who will thoroughly evaluate your case and inform you of your options as you navigate this tough process.
Request a Consultation with Our Divorce Attorneys
With offices in Silver Spring and Rockville, MD, Andalman & Flynn offers legal representation to divorce clients in Montgomery County as well as in Prince George’s and Howard counties. If your spouse has engaged in an emotional affair, it can be just as painful as engaging in a physical affair. We can assist you in resolving your divorce and resulting legal matters in court or through alternative means of resolution.
To set up a consultation with our experienced divorce attorneys, fill out a contact form on our website or call us at 301-563-6685. We will help you determine if you can file for divorce on grounds of desertion.
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