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The furtive consent of one person to cooperate with another in the commission of an unlawful act or crime—such as an employer's agreement not to withhold taxes from the salary of an employee who wants to evade federal Income Tax. The false consent that a plaintiff gave to a defendant's past conduct during their marriage which the plaintiff presently alleges as a ground for Divorce.
Connivance has been used as a defense primarily in an action for divorce based upon Adultery. In situations where connivance is used, the facts must establish that the plaintiff either consented or knowingly acquiesced to the adulterous conduct of the spouse or created the opportunity for adultery by persuading someone to seduce the spouse. It is considered a logical extension of the equitable Maxim of clean hands in that it would be unfair to permit a plaintiff to obtain judicial relief for a situation which he or she created. Practically speaking, however, connivance is rarely asserted as a defense. The modern trend in divorce laws is that there is little benefit to continuing a marital relationship between partners so indifferent to each other that they consent to a serious violation of their marital vows.
The defense of connivance cannot be asserted in an action based upon a state's no-fault divorce laws.
connivancethe tacit encouragement of or assent to another's wrongdoing, for example, the petitioner in a divorce suit to the respondent's adultery. See also LENOCINIUM.
CONNIVANCE. An agreement or consent, indirectly given, that something
unlawful shall be done by another.
2. The connivance of the husband to his wife's prostitution deprives him of the right of obtaining a divorce; or of recovering damages from the seducer. 4 T. R. 657. It may be satisfactorily proved by implication.
3. Connivance differs from condonation, (q.v.) though either may have the same legal consequences. Connivance necessarily involves criminality on the part of the individual who connives, condonation may take place without implying the slightest blame to the party who forgives the injury.
4. Connivance must be the act of the mind before the offence has been committed; condonation is the result of a determination to forgive an injury which was not known until after it was inflicted. 3 Hagg. Eccl. R. 350.
5. Connivance differs, also, from collusion (q. Y.); the former is generally collusion. for a particular purpose, while the latter may exist without connivance. 3 Hagg, Eccl. R. 130. Vide Shelf. on Mar. & Div. 449; 3 Hagg. R. 82; 2 Hagg. R. 376; Id. 278; 3 Hagg. R. 58, 107, 119, 131, 312; 3 Pick. R. 299; 2 Caines, 219; Anth. N.P. 196.