Can You Sue For Adultery?

Married couples experience marital problems among which is adultery. If you suspect your spouse has an affair, there are legal options that you might want to take. In other countries, adultery is illegal. How about in the United States? Can you sue for adultery? For the spouse who is at the receiving end, it is a crime. In the US, cheating especially when two people are married is considered punishable by the law. You may be fined or even go to jail.

What is Adultery?

Adultery is an act committed that is offensive to morals. For years, adultery has been considered as legally wrong. That is why if you catch your spouse in an affair or the other way around, you have the option to file for divorce.


In Colorado, they repealed the anti-adultery law. But most states have laws against adultery. Basically, adultery is a married person having a relationship and sexual intercourse with another person who is not their legal spouse. States have varying definitions of adultery but almost operate on the same principle. Like for instance in North Carolina, it is defined as two people who would “lewdly and lasciviously associate.”  South Carolina has another definition where they categorized it as people having “habitual carnal intercourse”. There are states that consider adultery as felony like in Wisconsin and in Michigan. How about the fine? It greatly differs as punishments would vary from one state to another. In Maryland, the paltry penalty fee is $10. But you can end up serving 3 years jail time in Massachusetts.

Criminal Proceedings

Suing a cheating spouse is a legal battle. In some statutes, the prosecution for such offense can only occur when the spouse of the person accused is carried out in the name of the state. However, other states prohibit the accused against testifying against his or her spouse.

When it comes to the evidence, there are customary rules that need to be followed. The prosecutor has to show that the accused party had a sexual relationship with another party. Considering that states have different statutes, the prosecutor has to establish and be able to how that either one or both of them are married to another person.

If for instance a married woman who was accused of adultery suddenly became pregnant at a time when the spouse was away can be admissible in court. There are also instances where there are letters and these can be used as additional evidence to strengthen the case against the spouse who is allegedly committing or has committed adultery. Circumstantial activities are also used and these can include circumstances and suspicious activities.

Although adultery is a crime, the fact is that there is minimal threat in persecution. It can also be difficult to prove that adultery took place. But there are instances where it can be a big penalty. In fact in the military, the person who is guilty of adultery might be removed from service or a confinement for 1 year depending on the facts that surround the case. This is based on the Uniform Code of Military. In fact in the past few years, about 30% of commanders lost their jobs because of sexual misconduct.

Hiring a Lawyer

Having a lawyer who will represent and help you is definitely important in so many ways. This is very useful especially if you cannot have enough evidence of your spouse’s illicit affair. For instance, you need a lawyer when drafting legal papers and if you fighting during your divorce over money, property and children.

When it comes to hiring an attorney who can help and provide legal assistance, you can ask for referrals. You might know someone who knows a reliable lawyer. If your friends and other people you know cannot give you with any referral, you can search online. Get a few candidates so you can compare. After that, you should contact them and schedule an initial consultation as this gives you a feel before you finally decide to hire which lawyer to hire.