Legal Forgiveness = Forgiveness? in a Divorce Action

One of the most claimed grounds for divorce is Adultery. Actually, the statue refers to it as “Uncondoned Adultery.” What, you ask, is Uncondoned Adultery? That is adultery that has not been “forgiven.”

Condonation is “legal forgiveness.”  This happens when the aggrieved spouse knows of the fault and decides to reconcile with the other party. You resumed living together as husband and wife, had sex and otherwise tried to make it work.

Once this occurs you no longer have grounds for divorce based on Adultery. Even if it didn’t work!

There are a few strings attached, however. The guilty spouse must, in “good faith” attempt the reconciliation. Additionally, the aggrieved spouse can only forgive what they know about. If there were multiple affairs and all were not disclosed there may still exist fault grounds, whether they are aware of it or not. Also, if the adultery is repeated it revives the grounds for divorce.

Condonation is a difficult issues to wrestle with in divorce.  The Court must consider the knowledge of the aggrieved spouse, the intent of the guilty spouse, the effort(s) to reconcile – whether they are in good faith. All these are fact specific and subjective determinations to be made by the Court.

Matthew Thompson is a divorce attorney in Mississippi and cautions you that some lawyers will advise the guilty party to do or say whatever is necessary to get the other party back in bed, for “reconciliation,” so that the defense of Condonation may be used.  


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