Although the general legal usage exists (cf. the Webster definition), the most common occurrence of the term is in reference to proceedings for divorce on the grounds of adultery; here the co-respondent is the (alleged} sexual partner of the respondent. In some legal systems (e.g. England and Wales) the co-respondent in such a case may be liable to pay damages to the complainant, although they are rarely granted nowadays. In earlier times the stigma of being cited as co-respondent in a divorce case could break careers in public life, as was the case for Irish nationalist Charles Parnell.

Co`-re*spond"ent (k?`rr?-sp?nd"ent), n. Law

One who is called upon to answer a summons or other proceeding jointly with another.


© Webster 1913.

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