Adultery in Canada: explore the consequences. Trust, love, and loyalty are the foundation upon which marriage rests. Taboos like extramarital affairs and cheating destroy the very foundation of marriage. It is difficult to put into words the emotional and mental distress a person suffers due to their partner’s extramarital affair.
However, the legal consequences that a person may face are quite clear.
Different states have different laws regarding adultery. Some states prohibit adultery and prescribe harsh punishments, while others leave the adulterer with a fine. Apart from this, today, many states do not consider adultery a crime.
In this article, we will look at adultery laws in Canada and their legal consequences.
What does adultery mean in Canada?
Adultery or extramarital affairs, as the word suggests, are affairs in which a married man or woman get indulges in a voluntary sexual relationship with another person, not being their legally wedded partner.
In Canada, the word adultery gets defined as a physical sexual relationship between either spouse and a third party to the marriage.
Besides, to qualify as adultery the other party must prove that the physical sexual relationship occurred between parties.
A virtual, telephonic, or emotional affair does not constitute adultery. Thus, Canadian law considered only physical affairs regarded as adultery, not other ones.
What are the Adultery charges in Canada?
If you have committed adultery or been the victim of your partner’s adultery, you may be concerned about the legal consequences under state criminal law. And whether the adulterer could get jailed for their unfaithful act.
Generally, in countries where adultery is considered a crime, it is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor gets used to denote petty offenses or minor wrongdoings for which the punishment does not exceed six months or a fine. On the other hand, a felony represents a heinous crime for which the punishment ranges from 1 year to life imprisonment. Punishment for adultery varies from state to state, ranging from imprisonment, canning, the death penalty, or stoning to death.
Surprisingly, a poll conducted by Mainstreet Research for Postmedia News after the breach of Ashley Madison’s data revealed that about 22% of Canadians have seriously considered cheating on their partner and about 10% of Canadians admit to having cheated with more men than women admitting to this behavior. About 13% of males and 18% of females admitted to adultery and 23% of men and 20% of women have seriously considered committing adultery throughout the Canadian territory.
However, despite the data being surprisingly high, you may take a sigh of relief because adultery is not a crime throughout the territory of Canada and does not invite any legal implications under state criminal law. Like most states, Canada does not consider adultery an illegal act. Thus, Canada does not consider adultery either a misdemeanor or a felony. Thus the adulterer does not get charged for adultery under the state criminal code.
However, adultery may significantly impact the divorce proceeding under the Federal Divorce Act. Thus you might save yourself from the penal laws, but the innocent spouse may take some advantages in certain circumstances under the Federal Divorce Act in Canada.
Is there any impact of adultery on divorce in Canada?
Although adultery is not a criminal act under Canadian law, it is considered a legal ground to bring a divorce case. Divorce claims get governed and dealt with under the state’s Divorce Act.
In Canada, a party can only get a divorce if they establish that the marriage has broken down. Besides, there is no way to get a divorce under the Canadian Divorce Act. According to section 8 of the Divorce Act under Canadian law, to establish that the marriage got broken down can be proved in one of three ways, mainly:
- Both spouses are living separately and apart for at least one year before the initiation of a divorce proceeding.
- The other party against whom divorce proceedings get brought has been unfaithful or committed adultery.
- The spouse against whom the proceedings get brought has treated the other party to the marriage with physical and mental cruelty.
From the above-listed points, it is quite clear that adultery is considered a legal basis to bring a divorce. However, a divorce claim based on adultery rarely gets initiated because it is hard to prove that adultery occurred in the first place.
Besides, adultery is a costly, time-consuming, and lengthy procedure.
Thus, most people prefer the first option, which is to live apart or separate for at least one year and get a divorce quickly without going through the court’s lengthy procedure.
Besides, adultery does not directly impact divorce cases in Canada. However, it may affect your case in certain circumstances when deciding crucial issues such as spousal support and property division associated with your divorce claim.
What are the adultery rules in Canada?
Although divorce claims based on adultery rarely get initiated, you must be prepared in advance if you have made up your mind about adultery. Knowing the rules and requirements of the court regarding adultery will help you make a strong case and save your claim from getting rejected. Here are some of the rules one must know before initiating a divorce claim in Canada based on adultery:
- In a Divorce based upon adultery or cruelty, the act must get committed by the other spouse, not the applicant applying for the divorce.
- The act must have occurred before the application gets initiated.
- The party must prove that the actual sexual contact occurred between the adulterer and the third party to the marriage.
- The court will require evidence to prove the claim and establish that adultery occurred to get a divorce on your partner’s adultery.
- Claim based on mere suspicion is not enough.
- A single act of adultery is sufficient to bring a divorce action based on adultery.
- One proven incident of adultery is enough to prove the claim. It is unnecessary to establish; how long the affair continued or the affairs series occurred.
- If the alleged spouse does not file a response and does not contest the claim, then a judge may infer that they committed adultery because the other party did not state otherwise.
- A third party to the marriage or the person engaged in an adulterous act with the spouse need not have to be named. Besides, if the applicant provides the name of a third party in the divorce application, then it will be necessary to serve the divorce Application to that party.
- Adultery occurring between two individuals of the same gender also counts as adultery according to the Divorce act.
- If a spouse returns to an adulterous spouse out of love or to save the marriage, that partner can not file for divorce based on the earlier adultery. In this case, the innocent spouse will get presumed to approve the affair for the divorce.
Besides, you need to collect concrete evidence in support of your claim. Although there is no prerequisite that the alleged spouse was caught red-handed or to produce the photos and videos of your partner’s intimate movement with their lover, the court must be satisfied on a preponderance of credible evidence that adultery has occurred.
The legal impact of adultery on alimony in Canada
Alimony or spousal support allows a spouse financial support when they cannot maintain themselves and ensure an equal standard of living. Spousal support aims to assist in meeting the financial needs of a financially dependent spouse for a specific period by the other spouse.
In Canada, a divorce claim based on adultery carries no impact on alimony cases. It means you won’t become eligible to get alimony based on your partner’s adulterous act, or the court will not grant you a high amount of spousal support due to your partner’s adulterous behavior.
It also means if you are the guilty spouse, the court will not preclude you from spousal support.
However, your partner’s adulterous act may give you some advantages in certain circumstances.
There are chances that your spouse has spent some money on their lover’s luxuries, vacation trips, hotel bills, shopping, or other things. Thus, these irrational expenses might get added to the amount of spousal support.
Wrapping up:Adultery in Canada
Adultery has a devastating effect on marriage. The innocent side suffers endless pain because of the treacherous act of their partner. However, if you have made up your mind; to bring a divorce claim against your partner on the grounds of adultery, gather some solid evidence to substantiate your claim. Without proof, your case will take a long time to get resolved.
At this juncture, consult an expert lawyer to know the matter more clearly and what would be best for you.