Adultery is defined as “sexual relations between a married individual and someone who is not their spouse”. Many places consider adultery a criminal offense against the institution of marriage and morals of the community. According to the laws, either both parties are guilty if one of them is married to someone else, or if the woman is married to someone else. In some places, a single act can be a crime and in others, there must be an ongoing affair. Centuries ago, only a woman having a sexual intercourse with someone other than her husband was considered a crime.

Criminal Proceedings

The criminal proceedings can be initiated by the cheated spouse either against the cheater or their lover. The evidence can be obtained by hiring a private investigator – it’s best to do so because the evidence must be sufficient to prove the guilt, and private investigators are trained in the court procedures and the law. The examples of admissible evidence include photographs, letters exchanged between the cheater and the other party and character witness testimonies. The fact that the other party was involved in sexual relationships with people other than the adulterer is generally not considered as evidence.

Crime Of Adultery

A valid defense to the crime of adultery can be a physical inability to consummate a sexual act. If the extra marital relation was rape, then the victim is not guilty of adultery. In some places, ignorance about the cheater’s marital status can serve as a defense.

Adultery As A Crime Against Marriage And Morals

The legal system has traditionally treated adultery as a crime against marriage and morals. However, today many prosecutors are changing their minds, realizing that the act of adultery as itself serves as a destruction of marriage, once committed, and the system can’t really preserve it. Therefore, the laws against adultery are rarely invoked today. However, it’s been held that the lack of cases where the law is enforced does not mean that it’s completely gone or invalid.

In a few criminal cases, adultery has been cited as a defense to murder of the other man or woman by the spouse who got cheated on. However, it’s unlikely to continue to be a reliable defense due to the terrible nature of the crime, although it’s possible to use it as a way to reduce conviction to manslaughter.

Adultery is one of the grounds for a divorce, together with desertion and lack of support. In the past, people have hired private investigators to find proof of cheating or “honeytrap” their partners in order to prove that adultery has occurred and to get a divorce. In today’s legal world, it’s now easier, however, to get a divorce without having to prove adultery, although it’s still a relevant ground when it comes to alimony. If an adulterer is seeking alimony, it would be harder to convince the judge that they are entitled to it.