One of the fault-based grounds for divorce in Virginia is adultery. While you can file for divorce immediately if you discover your spouse has had an affair, your actions after the fact will still be taken into account by the court in the divorce proceedings. Family law attorney Rebecca Wade explains how condonation can be used as a defense for adultery, on this week’s FAQ Friday.

“Condonation is essentially a legal term for forgiveness,” Wade explains. “So if you know about the affair and you then continue cohabitating and having sexual relations with your spouse, your spouse could have a defense to the adultery claim that you condoned the adultery.”

This does not mean you must immediately leave the house and separate from your spouse. However, it’s important to recognize the risk of continued sexual relations after discovering an affair if you plan to get a divorce and accuse your spouse of adultery.