What is a Divorce or Dissolution?

A divorce is a judicial proceeding that terminates a marital relationship. Often times a divorce will involve the distribution of property and alimony. Some common grounds for divorce are:

  • Adultery
  • Cruelty to Spouse
  • Abandonment by a partner

How Have Some Courts Viewed Homosexual Activity or Similar Sexual Practices as Grounds for a Divorce?

Homosexual Activity or Similar Sexual Practices Considered as Adultery:

  • Some states have taken the position that a spouse’s extramarital homosexual activity equates to adultery and may be a ground for divorce. Courts tend not to focus on whether the relations were heterosexual or homosexual, but rather have interpreted adultery to specifically mean purely extramarital sexual relations of any kind.  

Homosexual Activity or Similar Sexual Practices Considered as Cruelty to Spouse:

  • Cruelty to spouse usually consists of continual acts of abuse or acts that cause the other spouse mental suffering. Courts analyze whether these acts have endangered the continuation of the marriage or whether the purpose and function of the marriage have been destroyed. In this setting, for a cruelty to spouse theory to be a valid ground for divorce, courts will measure whether the injured spouse has endured any mental suffering or injuries as a result of the other spouse’s homosexual or similar acts.

Homosexual Activity or Similar Sexual Practices Considered as Constructive Abandonment:

  • It is generally accepted that any conduct of a spouse that renders the marital relation intolerable and compels the other spouse to physically leave may justify a divorce on the ground of constructive abandonment. In this setting, courts have noted that extramarital homosexual acts justify the injured spouse leaving when it becomes impossible to cohabitate without the loss of health or self-respect. As a result, the physical separation is a constructive abandonment of the marriage and is a valid ground for divorce.

Should I Seek an Attorney for My Divorce Proceeding?

With any divorce proceeding, it would be most beneficial to seek a lawyer. An experienced and understanding family attorney will help you through the divorce process and ensure that it is done correctly and in your best interests.