Is sexting considered adultery in Virginia?

Is sexting considered adultery in Virginia? Sexting or Virtual affair, a new form of cheating, is growing at a rapid speed. It is becoming the most common reason why marriages end.

The digital world has introduced several platforms and chatting websites such as Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, and many others. These have made it easy for people to connect and communicate with each other, including racy and sexy ways. 

Is sexting considered adultery in Virginia?
Is sexting considered adultery in Virginia?

Technological advances have given a blow to extramarital affairs. Although one spouse may believe sexting is a simply flirtatious conversation, for the other one, it may be an outright hoax. 

They may consider it full-blown cheating even if actual sex does not take place.

The definition of extramarital affairs varies according to people’s conception. But what about sexting in a legal sense?

Is sexting considered adultery in the eyes of the law?

If you live in Virginia and have caught your partner sexting with another person, you may be wondering whether sexting is considered adultery under your state’s law. 

Let’s find out whether sexting is considered adultery in Virginia or not.

Is sexting considered adultery in Virginia?

Sexting is the act of sharing sexually explicit text, nude images, and erotic videos using a cell phone or any digital medium. 

In Virginia, sexting is not an offense unless it involves a minor.

According to Virginia Code §§ 18.2-374.1 and 18.2-374.1:1, whoever produces, stores, and transmits explicit videos or photographs of any person below 18 years of age can get prosecuted for child pornography and be held guilty of class 5 or 6 felony. Thus, your spouse’s adulterous activity on the internet is not illegal unless it involves a minor.

When it comes to adultery, your partner’s virtual affair does not count as adultery. Technically speaking, sexting is cheating, but not adultery.

Virginia Code § 18.2-365 clearly define adultery as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person not being their legally wedded partner. And a person found in contravention of these provisions will be held guilty of committing a class 4 misdemeanor.

According to these definitions, to prove adultery, one must satisfy that physical intercourse occurred between the accused spouse and the other person. Sexual intercourse is the essential ingredient of adultery. Emotional and virtual affairs do not qualify for adultery in a legal sense.

However, the virtual intense and romantic conversation sometimes leads to actual sexual encounters. This physical intimacy gets considered adultery in Virginia, not merely flirting, texting, or sexting. While these things may constitute cheating or infidelity, it does not fall under the purview of adultery.

Thus, mere sexting won’t make your spouse guilty of committing adultery.

Is sexting relevant as adultery in divorce cases?

When it comes to divorce, is your partner’s virtual affair counted as adultery?

 Virginia law allows its residents to file a divorce in two ways either;

  • No-fault divorce 
  • Fault-based divorce

A no-fault divorce allows married couples to seek a divorce by merely stating that; the marriage gets irreconcilably broken or either party is mentally incapacitated. These cases generally consume a lot of time and money.

On the other hand, a fault-based divorce can get filed on several grounds, such as cruelty, adultery, insanity, desertion, etc. A fault-based divorce has no waiting period and provides quicker resolution than no-fault divorce cases.

Adultery is one of the most cited reasons for divorce across the globe.

In Virginia, to qualify for divorce on the ground of adultery one must establish that offline sexual activity took place in the first place. 

You cannot blame your partner for adultery by merely exchanging flirtatious or heated texts with their coworkers or friends. In Virginia law, clear and convincing evidence of adultery gets required. For these, some physical intimacy must occur to constitute adultery.

As sexting is merely a virtual affair, it does not include physical intimacy. Thus, sexting does not constitute adultery to seek divorce in a legal sense.

However, sometimes such heated conversations turn into actual physical relationships, which may fulfill the requirement to file for divorce on the grounds of adultery.

In addition, sexting can ruin the foundation of marriage. Thus, it can get used to prove irreconcilable differences to seek a no-fault divorce in Virginia.

Is sexting can be used to prove adultery in Virginia?

Catching your partner sexting with someone else is heart-wrenching. You might be feeling devastated and emotionally broken. However, it does not count as adultery unless physical intimacy takes place.

Thus, the alleged party must prove that actual sexual intercourse occurred between the accused spouse and their lover.

In Virginia, proving adultery is a notoriously difficult task. Virginia law has a higher standard of proof of adultery than any other ground of divorce. It requires clear and convincing evidence of adultery to qualify for divorce on the ground of adultery.

Thus, these standards of proof make it notoriously difficult to prove adultery in court. The alleged party is needed to produce concrete evidence, which might be difficult to obtain due to the inherently secretive nature of the act. 

Here your partner’s adulterous behavior on the internet can get used to corroborate other concrete evidence and build your case strong.

A third-party testimony and confession of the accused spouse via text, email, and recording can get used to prove your claim. Here, your partner’s virtual affair can get used to corroborate this evidence.

Wrapping up:Is sexting considered adultery in Virginia?

Sexting or virtual affairs are emotionally and mentally distressing as you might feel cheated. However, it is not considered adultery in a legal sense. For these, you need to establish that actual sexual activity occurred in the real world. 

Thus, before initiating a legal proceeding against your spouse, ensure you have everything needed to prove their guilt.

Hiring a private detective is a smart move. A private detective may bring you strong pieces of evidence to ensure the most favorable outcome during the trial.

Besides, find an experienced attorney to know more about your available rights and remedies under Virginia law.

Read also: Can you get jailed for adultery in Virginia?; How to prove adultery in Virginia?; Adultery in Virginia

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