Feb 13 2020

Adultery – Criminal Laws, Enforcement Of Statutes, As A Defense, Divorce, Cross-references – Married, Spouse, Considered, and Morals – JRank Articles, adultery laws.

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Adultery – Criminal Laws, Enforcement Of Statutes, As A Defense, Divorce, Cross-references

Adultery laws

Voluntary sexual relations between an individual who is married and someone who is not the individual s spouse.

Adultery is viewed by the law in many jurisdictions as an offense injurious to public morals and a mistreatment of the marriage relationship.

Statutes attempt to discourage adultery by making such behavior punishable as a crime and by allowing a blameless party to obtain a DIVORCE against an adulterous spouse.

Although adultery has been historically regarded as a legal wrong, it has not always been considered a crime. In Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, adultery was punishable solely in courts created by the church to impose good morals. In the ecclesiastical courts, adultery was any act of sexual intercourse by a married person with someone not his or her spouse. The act was considered wrongful regardless of whether the other person was married. At COMMON LAW, adultery was wrongful intercourse between a married woman and any man other than her husband.


Friedman, Lawrence M. 2000. A Dead Language: Divorce Law and Practice Before No-fault. Virginia Law Review 86 (October): 1497 1536.

Haggard, Melissa Ash. 1999. Adultery: A Comparison of Military Law and State Law and the Controversy This Causes Under Our Constitution and Criminal Justice System. Brandeis Law Journal 37 (spring): 469 83.

Additional Topics

Adultery – Criminal Laws

Several state legislatures statutorily prohibit adultery as a crime. Under some statutes, both parties to an adulterous relationship are guilty of a crime if either of them is married to someone else. Other statutes provide that the act is criminal only if the woman is married. Under the law of many states, a single act of adultery constitutes a crime, whereas in others, there must be an ongoing a

Adultery – Enforcement Of Statutes

Although the District of Columbia and approximately half of the states continue to have laws on the books criminalizing adultery, these laws are rarely invoked. Traditionally, states advanced three goals in support of their adultery laws: (1) the prevention of disease and illegitimate children; (2) the preservation of the institution of marriage; and (3) the safeguarding of general community moral

Adultery – As A Defense

Adultery – Divorce

Based on the state s interest in the marital status of its residents, all legislatures had traditionally assigned statutes enumerating the grounds on which a divorce would be granted. These grounds, listed separately in the laws of each jurisdiction, generally included desertion, nonsupport, and adultery. The basis of adultery as a ground for divorce has been discussed in various cases. The

Adultery – Cross-references

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