Dear Mrs Macaulay,
l have been having problems with this woman from 2011 who was having an affair with my husband. They broke it off, but in 2020 my husband went to another parish to work and they got back in contact, got intimate, and now she is saying that she is pregnant and is pressuring my husband for money. I just had my own baby and I am so stressed. I just need some advice on what to do.
Your distress is patently clear in your letter, but it is apparent that the problem you have is not with the woman, but with your husband's infidelity. You seem to place all the responsibility for the affair on the woman, but this is clearly wrong. Look at the facts. The affair had ended, but after your husband went to work in another parish the affair started again. Who must have made contact with the other person? Surely it must have been your husband. It is doubly unfortunate because you just had a baby.
It is very clear that you and your husband need marriage counselling and that he needs some specific assistance to find out why and what he needs from this woman, and whether there have been others; and why he feels the need for intimacy with women other than you, or in addition to you. When the counsellor finds out the answers to this, then your husband may see the way to desist from the infidelity which places your marriage in jeopardy. This is what you can and must do. Then being fully informed and counselled, you can make informed decisions about your marriage.
The pressuring of your husband for money would be because the woman is acting on the basis that he is the putative father of the child she is carrying and must therefore assist with the medical bills for her check-ups and confinement and delivery charges. He must determine whether or not he is the father of the child, and he can ask for this to be factually ascertained by a DNA test, which can be done after the birth of the child at one of the laboratories designated by the Family Court of your parish. He can telephone the court's office and get their list of such laboratories.
There is no legal action you can take against the woman as it is apparent that your husband was and is a willing partner in their relationship. She did not kidnap him and keep him confined for her sole sexual use. She has not committed any criminal or other illegal act against you. Your husband is guilty of having been unfaithful to you — and even this is not illegal. Yes, it is immoral of him and in violation of his marital vows, but only you can decide what effect this has had on your marriage and whether you can accept the pain he has caused you and live with it, and him, since he had fractured your trust in him — and not only on a single occasion.
The infidelity of a husband or wife can cause the break up of a marriage, which may be for only a period of time, or which may be an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. If the wronged spouse moves to divorce, after the legal period of separation and living separate and apart for 12 months, and files a petition for dissolution of the marriage, it would be pleaded that the reason for the break down of the marriage and which led to the separation on a certain date, was the fact of the husband or wife's unfaithfulness, and that they have lived separate and apart from the separation date, and that there is no likelihood of them being reconciled.
You see, divorce for many years since the passage of the Matrimonial Causes Act in 1989, became a “no-fault divorce” and made the sole ground the “irretrievable break down of the marriage”. Remember, it is your husband who owes you a duty of care, not any woman he may approach and enter into an intimate relationship with.
I am sorry to say that if indeed he is the father of this woman's child, he will be legally obligated to contribute to the maintenance of the child for at least 18 years, and if extended, it could be up to 23 years of age or after the child obtains his or her undergraduate degree, if this occurs before the 23rd year of their birth. This will be his legal obligation as either the Supreme Court, or the Family Court of the parish in which they reside, would, without any hesitation, order him to make fixed periodic payments for the child's maintenance and order access for him to have a relationship with his child, etcetera, etcetera. You as his wife cannot prevent him from making such payments. If you do, you would place him in the position where he could end up in jail for failing to meet his ordered maintenance payments.
But, remember that the entire responsibility for all this pain, stress and additional financial obligation is your husband's. He broke his vows and acted immorally and caused you pain.
This is why I advise you to arrange for marital counselling and then you can calmly consider your situation and your marriage and make an informed decision about what you and your child, and indeed your husband, should do in the circumstances.
I wish you the very best following counselling, and hope that you can find happiness again.
I take this opportunity to wish that all persons of African descent had a fruitful International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which was recognised yesterday, March 21. I hope that the aim is fully realised within both the Decade of the United Nations and of the Organisation of American States for People of African Descent (2015-2024) and (2016-2025) respectively.
Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.