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The Fifth Amendment and Adultery in Virginia

Anthony Montagna a top Divorce  and Family Law Lawyer in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News and all of Hampton  Roads explains the fifth amendment and adultery in Virginia.  In Virginia, adultery is a Class IV misdemeanor. Adultery essentially involves a married person having sexual intercourse with another individual who is not his or her spouse. If you are not married, you cannot be found guilty of adultery.

Because adultery is a crime in Virginia, an individual may plead the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.  By doing so,  the person cannot be forced  to answer a question under oath and expose himself  to criminal prosecution. Thus, an individual may assert the Fifth Amendment privilege in an Answer to a divorce Complaint, deposition, or interrogatory. However, courts are divided as to the effect of the privilege assertion. Some Judges may rule that by claiming the privilege the individual is not offering a reasonable explanation to the adultery allegation. Other Judges refuse to penalize an individual for asserting his or her rights.

An argument can be made that a prudent decision may involve admitting the adultery, avoid testimony about the sordid facts, and focusing on other issues. Unfortunately, Virginia does not appear to have a final resolution to the question about whether an individual should assert his or her Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination during a divorce.

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