Divorce Laws Adultery

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Adultery is defined as consensual sexual relation between two individuals when one or both of them are married to a third person. The legal issues surrounding divorce laws adultery are different depending on the state with jurisdiction over the divorce case. In several states, adultery is a ground for divorce. Adultery might result in irreconcilable breakdown of the marriage. In no-fault states, such a breakdown is regarded as a ground of divorce. In some states, it is necessary in fault based divorces to provide the evidence of the adultery, while in some no-fault based divorces, such evidence may not be required. While in some states, both fault and no-fault adultery laws are prevalent.

Divorce Laws for Adultery where Adultery is recognized as Fault:

In some states, adultery is looked upon as a grave crime. North Carolina, New York and Maryland are some of these states. Some states have created laws that demand an evidence for adultery. The divorce laws related to adultery state the following points:

  • The spousal support, personal property and assets are usually not granted to the person who is at fault.
  • The child custody is usually given to the innocent spouse.
  • Some state's laws mention that separation of the spouses for a particular duration is essential for a divorce.

Divorce Laws for Adultery where Adultery is recognized as no-fault:

In states where adultery is considered as no fault, any proof or evidence of adultery is not essential for procuring a divorce. However, certain legal requirements must be met in these states. There are seventeen such no-fault states like California, Montana, Kentucky, Kansas, Iowa and Florida amongst others. The couple seeking divorce owing to adultery, can simply state that there are irreconcilable differences between them. This is regarded as an adequate reason to get a divorce. In this way, the adultery divorce laws are extremely liberal in these states. Consequently, the rate of divorce is on a rise because of such leniency.

Also, there are few states that consider adultery as a fault ground for divorce. Moreover, there are some states that require a waiting period for filing a no-fault divorce such as Alabama, Alaska, etc. However, in case an individual wants to avoid the waiting period, he or she may seek a fault divorce in states like Utah and Idaho.

Military Divorce Laws for Adultery

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) comprises of Article 134. The provisions in this article form the basis of prosecution for adultery in the military. It is mandatory that the three points must be proved for a military member to be accused of adultery. These points are:

  • The accused person had been physically involved with another person.
  • When this accused person had close relationship with a third party, the third party was lawfully married to somebody i.e., other than the person with whom he/she had this relationship.
  • The behavior of the accused person threatened the 'discipline and good order' of the armed forces and resulted in discredit to the armed forces.

A military member who commits adultery might be charged with court martial offense. The other punishments are as follows:

  • Imprisonment for one year
  • Dishonorable discharge from the services
  • Forfeiture of all payments and allowances

Evidence of adultery

  • In case one or both parties, involved in the act, confess that they have been engaged in adultery, the confession is considered as evidence.
  • In several states, if a pair is photographed while entering a motel room with each other and later while moving out of the room can be regarded as evidence
  • Some other forms of evidence include:
    • eye-witness or relevant photographs
    • love letters
    • voice mails
    • Internet chat history
    • hotel or travel records
    • expensive gift records/bills

Interpretation of adultery by the court

The court handles the issue of adultery in a just and fair manner. Be it an at-fault or no-fault divorce case, it completely depends on the judge's own discretion to assess the adultery case. The family court of different counties use several approaches to reach a decision. The temperament of a judge acts as a factor in giving a fair hearing. If adultery is discovered within the marital period when the partners are happily married, then the judge considers the accused to be at-fault and rules accordingly. However, if the incident of adultery has happened when the partners were separated or during the divorce proceedings, the judge gives minimum preference to the act.

Divorce Laws regarding adultery holds an effective significance in the society. Whereas, some states consider it to be a serious crime, others do not. Nevertheless, it is considered to be a viable ground for divorce. Separation as a result of adultery destroys the trust between partners. Accepting such reality is a tough thing for the innocent spouse. Thus, strict adultery laws are required to give legal justice to an individual.

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