Is adultery still recognised as a cause for divorce?
On 26 May 2004, a new divorce law was voted recognising the following four grounds for divorce:
- Mutual consent
- Acceptance of the principle of marital breakdown
- Definitive impairment of marital relations
- Divorce for fault (including adultery)
Fault is thus still recognised as grounds for divorce.
Consequences of adultery on divorce?
Article 212 of the French Civil Code states that spouses pledge mutual fidelity, help and assistance. Although the duty of fidelity is not defined, legal precedent shows that this is based equally on physical and moral fidelity.
Adultery thus occurs not only in cases of physical relations between one spouse and a third-party, but also in the event of intimate relations, even in the absence of consummation.
Adultery unquestionably constitutes a fault under the terms of article 242 of the French Civil Code and can result in petition for divorce against the offending partner for a fault.
However, adultery can also be punished in terms of civil responsibility. Financial retribution may be obtained from the offending partner in favour of the victim, who can thus sue for damages and interest.
Since the obligation of marital fidelity is public, it is impossible for spouses to renege on this obligation.
Spouses remain bound by their obligation, even during the divorce procedure. Until divorce has actually been pronounced, adultery may still be deemed to occur.
Can I use a detective's report in my legal proceedings?
Reports delivered by the agency may be used and presented before all tribunals and courts. Reports are considered as constituting elements of proof in accordance with articles 200 to 202 of the new French Civil Code.