What are possible defenses against actions of marital fault?

A party defending against an action that includes allegations of marital fault also has certain common law affirmative defenses to the fault allegations. These defenses have technical names: condonation, connivance, collusion and recrimination.

The most commonly used of these defenses is condonation, which stands for forgiveness of the particular fault. For example, if your spouse has engaged in illicit sexual behavior with someone else and then you have sex with your spouse knowing about the illicit sex, in the eyes of the law you may have condoned the fault.

Like the statutory defenses outlined above, the common law defenses must be affirmatively pleaded with sufficient particularity to inform the opposing party of the events intended to be proved. It would be difficult for a layperson to plead these defenses correctly.

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