Adultery is one of Mississippi’s fault-based grounds for divorce. However, if the complaining spouse agrees to have sexual relations with the cheating spouse despite knowing about the extramarital affair, their case may involve a condonation defense.
Condonation is an expressed or implied act of conditional forgiveness for marital misconduct. Knowing how it works can help both sides build their case.
Condonation can be a valid defense
Condonation may prevent adultery to be a well-founded basis for a divorce. The defending spouse can use it to their advantage by satisfying the following conditions:
- The spouse cheated on has full knowledge of the infidelity
- The spouse cheated on freely or voluntarily forgives and is not forced or threatened to absolve the other party for their ill behavior
- The offending spouse discontinues the affair and does not engage in another extramarital offense
The court may not award the divorce to the complaining spouse if the unfaithful spouse meets these elements. In the same vein, if the cheating spouse reoffends, the condonation defense does not hold. Further, condonation can take effect for other transgressions, such as excessive gambling or cruel treatment.
Condonation has a significant impact
Condonation can change the course of divorce proceedings. As these are vulnerable times, divorcing couples must be cautious of their actions. Every misbehavior can snowball into countless contentions that can affect other divorce concerns. With tough decisions ahead, a dedicated legal support system can anticipate and address unfavorable scenarios.