Adultery isn’t just a sin in the religious sense; it’s not just one of the Ten Commandments handed down from Mount Sinai; it is also a major no-no when it comes to divorce law. In Virginia, if a spouse commits adultery, they may face unfortunate consequences should the couple get divorced.

According to the Virginia Code, Section 20-107.1(B), if adultery is proven in court, then the guilty party cannot be awarded spousal support.

Now, that concept may not be news to you. What might surprise you, however, is the fact that “adultery” committed after separation (and before the divorce is finalized) can still count against you. You may not consider yourselves to be in a relationship anymore, but until the decree of divorce is entered, your marriage is still valid in the eyes of the state. This rule conflicts with the contemporary personal beliefs of many Americans, who believe that they have the right to date after separation. Nonetheless, the court can and will penalize you.

There is an exception to the rule. If both parties are found guilty of adultery, then neither spouse will be barred from spousal support. Spousal support is only withheld if the intended recipient is the sole adulterer.

Every relationship is different. Some divorces are clean and dry while others can get really, really messy. When adultery is involved, you can bet that the divorce process is not going to be easy. That is why it is essential to hire a trustworthy and experienced divorce lawyer.

Divorce lawyers understand the intricacies of the legal process. As long as you disclose to your attorney all the details related to your side of the story, they can handle the rest. You won’t have to fight and argue with your soon-to-be-ex anymore than you already have. Attorneys are trained to take on these tough negotiations.

In the U.S., there is one divorce every 36 seconds. That’s roughly 2,400 divorces per day, 16,800 divorces per week, and 876,000 divorces each year. The small details of your marriage may be unique, but chances are your lawyer has seen numerous cases just like yours. Put your trust in an experienced family lawyer and avoid the stress of an ugly divorce.