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Why Adultery Is More Serious Than Some Expect

"I 've been charged with adultery," is something most people do not expect to hear. After all, cheating on a spouse is a crime that usually ends in divorce, not jail time. It is a civil, not criminal offense, right? Well, the answer to this question is not as clear cut as one might expect.

Surprising to some, adultery is a crime in almost half the states. In fact, cheating on a husband or wife could be punishable by jail time, in some instances.

To help people become more understanding of just how serious marital infidelity can be, here are some facts about adultery in the United States.

Places Where Adultery is a Criminal Offense

There are twenty-one jurisdictions that have anti-adultery laws on the books. In these states, a prosecutor or victim can file a criminal complaint against a cheating spouse.

The states that have adultery laws on the books are as follows:

  1. Alabama

  2. Arizona

  3. Florida

  4. Georgia

  5. Idaho

  6. Illinois

  7. Kansas

  8. Maryland

  9. Massachusetts

  10. Michigan

  11. Minnesota

  12. Mississippi

  13. New Hampshire

  14. New York

  15. North Carolina

  16. Oklahoma

  17. Rhode Island

  18. South Carolina

  19. Utah

  20. Virgina

  21. Wisconsin

Furthermore, there are five states that consider adultery a felony. In these jurisdictions, judges can send an offender to prison for over a year.

The five states with felony adultery laws:

  1. Idaho

  2. Massachusetts

  3. Michigan

  4. Oklahoma

  5. Wisconsin

Fault or No Fault

When adultery is an issue, it is incumbent upon those contemplating divorce to speak with a lawyer. One of the first considerations is, along with the level of criminality involved, whether the state is no-fault or fault one.

In no-fault states, one spouse can file for a divorce without placing the blame on anyone.  In fault cases, required in some jurisdictions, the complaining party must provide a valid rationale for wanting to separate. Adultery is a commonly stated reason.

Will Adulterers Do Jail Time?

It is up to the authorities as to whether an adulterer will spend actual jail incarcerated. However, it is important to note that few prosecutors seem willing to carry through with such charges. Nevertheless, adultery is taken seriously and the offending party should know that their marriage and reputation hang in the balance.

Get Proper Legal Advice

It is imperative that anyone accused of adultery or who finds that their partner has been unfaithful contact a divorce lawyer as soon as possible. This legal professional can sift through all the evidence to find out the best solution for all involved.

For professional legal help, contact a lawyer such as A. Scott Kalkwarf