The Divorce Defense of Recrimination

Another such defense to a fault-based divorce is the defense of recrimination. The defense of recrimination can be raised when one spouse accuses the other party of misconduct that the alleging spouse is also guilty of committing. There is a saying in the law that those who come to court asserting a claim must do so with “clean hands.” There is also another very common saying, that seems fitting to describe the defense of recrimination, that those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. But to illustrate the legal defense of recrimination, imagine a husband and wife that are both committing adultery, but neither spouse knows of the other’s misconduct. One day the husband finds out his wife is having an affair and files for a fault-based divorce on the grounds of adultery. The wife would be able to assert the defense of recrimination because the husband came to Court with “unclean hands.” One party can not allege the other spouse is guilty of marital misconduct when that spouse is engaged in the same behavior.