Questions about liability for adultery

Is Cheating a Crime?

According to Joseph Hoelscher, Managing Attorney, Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC, cheating can be defined in two ways. First, it is detachment from the spouse without their consent, and second, it is large spending of time on someone other than the partner without their knowledge.

So, spending quality time with someone other than your partner and your loved one is bothered by it could be considered cheating.

Statistics of Divorces Due to Adultery

According to the American Psychological Association, adultery is the cause of 25-35% of divorces. Based on the report, almost 45% of divorcees had several affairs. As per the infidelity statistics, nearly 40% of unmarried individuals and 21% of married relationships face the severe issue of cheating at least once in their lifetime. Again, the Marriage and Divorce Journal states that nearly 70% of Americans engage in affairs after marriage.

Is Cheating Illegal?

Is Cheating illegal

Cheating is theoretically banned in 21 states in the United States. It is a misdemeanor in certain places, such as New York, while it is an unforgivable crime in others, such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and others, and the person who commits an infidelity act will be put in prison.

Adultery Laws in the US

U.S. state flags on the map

In many places, adultery is defined as the physical involvement of a married individual with someone other than their spouse. The severity of the punishment varies per state. Here are some examples of punishments under the law:

New York

An adulterer is a person engaged in a physical relationship with someone other than his spouse. Such a person falls under the class B misdemeanor.


If a married woman gets into sexual relations with someone else other than her legal husband, both are considered guilty of adultery. It can lead to 1-year imprisonment, and $3000 is charged as a fine.

North Carolina

Adultery occurs between two people who lewdly and lasciviously associate, bed, and cohabit together. If pursuing a lawsuit, it needs to be filed within 3 years from the act of infidelity. It proves a strong point for divorce as well.

South Carolina

For adultery, one has to pay a fine of up to $500, along with a sentence of imprisonment for 1 year. Additionally, the divorce laws deny paying alimony to the unfaithful spouse.


In Florida, a married person who cheats on their spouse faces a penalty of up to two months in prison, plus a $500 fine.


The perfect justice example against adultery is that someone who cheats on their spouse will be sentenced to 30 days in prison, and the other party involved will be punished as well.


Both cheaters can be sentenced to a year in prison in this state.

Is Adultery Common in the US?

We know that infidelity is widespread. A recent study on American couples indicates that about 20 to 25% of heterosexual married men, as well as 10 to 15% of heterosexual married women, get involved in extramarital affairs during their life period. The adultery laws vary from one country to another.

According to the data derived from the General Social Survey, it has been found that men are more intended to have extramarital affairs as compared to married women. 13% of women and 20% of men reported having sexual intercourse with someone other than their partner while married.

Which Are the Highly Adulterous States in America?

Let’s see the top 8 states where extramarital liaisons are illegal:

States Where You Can Be Put Behind Bars for Infidelity

Adultery is illegal as of now in 21 US states. New York is one of the few states that consider infidelity a sin. Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Idaho, Michigan, and Wisconsin, among others, have set felony charges against it. Some other states are as follows:

Punishment for Adultery in the United States

 Adultery In The United States

Infidelity is regarded as a crime in many jurisdictions in the United States, even if it occurs only once; however, in some states, it is considered notorious conduct. As a result, those who commit adultery multiple times face harsher penalties than those who commit it only once; whether they are a cheating husband or a cheating wife, punishment is the same for both.

Here are some of the answers regarding infidelity and divorce.

How Can You Prove Adultery?

The court requires evidence for an adultery case after the partner’s affair. So, unless you provide substantial evidence to prove your case, it’s difficult to win.

Give proof of adultery

You can consult with a lawyer who will help you gather the necessary facts and evidence. It’s also quite possible that your lawyer suggests you hire a professional detective to collect evidence that helps in divorce, like pictures of your spouse with his mistress or video footage of enjoying himself in a hotel or having a dinner date.

You cannot rely solely on your gut feelings – collect enough evidence to prove that your spouse is cheating on you. 

Does Cheating Affect the Distribution of Marital Property?

The rule of equitable distribution of property is followed at the time of divorce. It means that the court divides the marital assets fairly among both parties based on the marriage events, household contributions, employment income, and so on. But, if a married man has been continuously spending assets on his mistress, it will be considered a misuse of the marital assets by the court. As compensation, the court will give the faithful wife more priority or additional property in the divorce settlement.

Can You Go Behind Bars for Infidelity?

Is infidelity illegal? Well, many countries and states do not consider adultery a crime. However, in the US, it is considered a grave crime, and as a punishment, both the offenders have to pay huge amounts of fine and spend one year behind bars.

Can Infidelity Affect Alimony?

When it comes to alimony, it depends on the charges and level of offense. However, it is not a decisive factor when dividing the couple’s property. 

In case you believe that your spouse should not receive anything because of his unfaithful behavior, you need to gather enough evidence to prove your statement. It includes credit cards, phone calls, bank statements, etc. These will serve as evidence in a court of law to prove your spouse’s unfaithful activities.  

It can be quite difficult to prove your case in court. So, it’s always best to consult with a family attorney lawyer in your locality and discuss your adultery situation. 

If you are considering getting a divorce, alimony (also known as spousal support) is a situation that you should know about.

Often, it is found that one partner in a marriage becomes financially dependent on another. However, in some marriages, we get to see both partners working, but still, division of labor is a big factor. One spouse may be more responsible for taking care of their children and managing the household, while the other is responsible for earning.  

The alimony has nothing to do with cheating. However, if you think you need more alimony for certain reasons, you need to prove the reason in court. For example, in the case of obtaining custody of a child, you can ask the court to provide additional money for the upbringing of your child. Under certain circumstances, the court arranges more alimony for the faithful partner. 

Prenup Cheating Clause

prenuptial agreement

Most marriage agreements do not contain anything related to cheating or abuse. These agreements come with provisions on property divisions and sometimes about spousal support in the case of divorce after infidelity. Usually, marriage agreements can include the infertility clause, but the consequences should be weighed carefully. Both parties can remain open to litigation if one simply believes that the other party was unfaithful. If infidelity in marriage law ensures protection for your finances on the occasion of a divorce case, it will be very helpful to include adultery clauses in your prenuptial agreement as well.

What Is the Role of a Judge?

the role of the judge in determining the penalty for treason

While deciding on the divorce case, the judge will ensure that the faithful partner is compensated with additional property and money as compared to the unfaithful spouse. Also, the court will check how cheating will affect the custody of the child before deciding on time-sharing, child custody, and other related issues. 

Can Cheating Divorce Affect the Custody of Your Child?

In the US, the court always looks for the best interest of the child while determining custody. So the mental fitness of the parents is given the foremost priority. However, a spouse can argue that the other partner is morally less fit. So, it could affect the custody amount that a parent is granted by the court in the divorce.

Is It Possible to Stop a Spouse from Committing Adultery?

Stop your spouse from cheating - show your love

It is a big question whether it is possible to stop someone from committing adultery. Well, frankly speaking, it is not. But, observing their actions, you can understand that a person is involved in cheating. They become more concerned about their dress-up and looks. They start spending extra time on grooming and even spend money on branded clothes to appear more presentable. 

Social Media Tracking

When your gut feeling says that your spouse is up to something, don’t ignore it. It’s important to take action according to your instincts. If you feel that your partner is cheating on you, check out their social media accounts.

If there is a recent change in the passwords in their Instagram, Facebook, and other social media networking accounts, it’s a sure shot that they are up to something.

Keep an eye on your spouse's social media

You can also keep an observance on the posts because it can help you to track his whereabouts. It includes check-in posts, pictures and videos, and much more. 

Nowadays, social media monitoring can help you a lot to gather much-needed clues about a person! 

Observe the Change in Behavior and Appearance

It’s important to observe the behavioral patterns of your spouse because when it comes to cheating, physiology speaks volumes. 

If your wife cheats on you, she starts to look better

If your wife is cheating on you, she will feel less attracted to you and will show less interest in spending time with you. You will find her spending most of the time over the phone. 

A cheating spouse will never share the password of his/her phone with you and will cling to their phone.

Also, your cheating spouse will stop sharing their secrets with you any longer and will show irritation in almost everything that he once used to cherish.

Install a Spy App on Your Spouse’s Phone

You can effortlessly track your spouse’s phone actions with a spy app: record their chat conversation, media files, SMS, phone records, and other data. It works unnoticeably, and your partner will never notice it on their phone.

You can install a spy app on your wife’s or husband’s phone without the help of a professional. There are numerous straightforward products available for spying. Some free apps include Spyic, Spyier, Spyine, and Cocospy. For better supervision, you can even buy the premium version that comes with much more features. 

Adultery and Divorce – What Is the Role of a Divorce Lawyer?

A divorce lawyer generally spends a lot of time communicating with clients to fetch information about the case and prepare paperwork that needs to be drafted and filed in court. Plus, the attorney should discuss the hearing results with the client and strategies for the next steps.

What a lawyer does for a broken home

Divorce lawyers need to become adept at managing and scheduling meetings with their clients. Such meetings often take place over the phone and in person. The role of a lawyer is to gather information to strengthen the case, collect evidence, offer expert advice, give moral support, save your money, and help you with the alimony.


Is adultery against the law?

Adultery is considered a sin and is against the law. Special laws have been designed to protect marriages, prevent the birth of illegitimate children, and avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

In what states is adultery a crime?

Adultery is not considered legal in the states of Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Missouri, Georgia, Mississippi, Indiana, Arizona, Maryland, Illinois, Michigan, Idaho, New York, Wisconsin, Kansas, and South Carolina.

If my spouse cheats, what happens next?

When your spouse cheats in a marriage, you can immediately file a divorce case against them. You can even take the help of a lawyer to sue his mistress or the person with whom he is having an affair.

Is it illegal to have an affair?

Technically speaking, adultery is illegal in almost 21 states in the US. New York is one such state that considers it a sin, and few of the states even have felony charges for it.

How does infidelity affect divorce?

In the US, you can go ahead and file a divorce case when your spouse is unfaithful. However, there is a “no-fault divorce” option, which means that you can file even if you are just unhappy in your marriage.

Where is adultery illegal?

Adultery is still banned in some countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Algeria, Egypt, some US states, Morocco, the Republic of Congo, Iran, Indonesia, and others. While it is considered a scandalous behavior in some states, it is one of the leading causes of divorce.

Can you sue someone for cheating?

It is possible to sue someone in court for cheating. If you are in a married relationship and you get proof of your spouse cheating on you, you can directly file a case against them with the assistance of a lawyer. It’s better if you file a case against your cheating husband or wife with the support of a lawyer because the lawyer of your unfaithful partner may get you into their trap.

Does cheating affect divorce settlement?

In the US, cheating does not affect the spouse getting alimony support. A dependent spouse can have a one-night stand or even get into a full-fledged affair – it will not eliminate or reduce their ability to receive alimony. The lower-earning spouse receives support from the higher-running spouse, and cheating has nothing to do with it.

Should I admit to adultery in divorce?

You cannot just use your adultery as the reason to get an official separation from your spouse. Infidelity can be used as a weapon when your spouse is guilty of it. When you admit to committing adultery, you will get less than the usual amount in the divorce.

My husband is having an affair. What are my legal rights?

If your husband is involved physically with some other person, you can file a divorce case against your cheating partner. A lawyer can guide you in understanding the alimony and settlements.

US court demands evidence to prove your case right, so your gut feelings alone are not enough. Circumstantial evidence can be used like phone records, text messages, bank statements, credit cards, emails, photos as well as footage.

Can you be fired for committing adultery?

Workplace discrimination is not based on marital status. Federal law in the US does not judge individuals in their workplace for having extramarital affairs. If someone is fired for having an extra medical affair, they can file a case against the company.