Cheating in Marriage Law- A Surprising Look at State Legislation

Cheating in Marriage Law

When you start to look at the legislation surrounding cheating in marriage, the laws are surprising, and surprisingly varied depending upon the state you live in.  What makes things interesting is that even though we don’t condone cheating, it’s actually illegal in some states!

To some, it might seem to be quite an outdated legislation, even though they might appreciate the support from their state to encourage fidelity, especially if they are married and don’t plan to cheat.  

History of cheating in marriage law

Historically, the consequences of cheating in marriage legislation were severe and usually involved capital punishment, mutilation, and torture for the women involved in extramarital affairs. Yes, you heard it, only punishment for the women. For men, well they only received punishment on some occasions.  

At least these days the adultery legislation doesn’t just blame women!  That’s one saving grace!

Modern-day legislation

In our modern times, while there are some marriage laws that do consider cheating to be illegal, but the punishments are less severe.

Although in some situations the consequences of cheating could influence property settlement, the custody of children and the denial of alimony which are all factors that could cause even the most tempted to think twice before cheating.

The problem with the issues of property settlement, custody and alimony is that there is no ‘state legislation or cheating in marriage law that defines these boundaries – it seems to be dependant on the divorce settlement proceedings and the lawyers you choose!

Some marriage laws that do consider cheating to be illegal, but the punishments are less severe.

Separated by state lines

The definition of the act of cheating differs according to the states own cheating in marriage law as does the consequences, so if you want to know the facts about cheating in marriage legislation, you’ll need to research the law in the state you live in.  

Here is an example of some of the states where cheating in marriage law considers that adultery is illegal, along with examples of the fines or punishment you might expect.

And after reading this, you might think twice before being tempted by another person who is not your spouse.  This makes an interesting read. Just don’t cheat in Wisconsin!

1. Arizona

Cheating in Arizona can cause you to be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor A class 3 misdemeanor is the lowest criminal offense, but can still carry stiff punishments which could result in 30 days in jail, one year of probation and a $500 fine plus surcharges.

But since the most common types of class 3 misdemeanor offenses are usually assault, criminal trespass and criminal speeding, you can probably assume that any adulterous ways won’t reach the extremes of jail time.  It’s also worth noting that it won’t be just the spouse who will be punished, the spouse’s partner in crime will also be facing up to some punishment too. Justice is served!

2. Florida

You’ll probably want to keep your hands to your spouse if you live in Florida.  Cheating in marriage law there states that you can potentially be charged up to $500 and possibly spend up to two months in jail!    These might be extreme cases but would you want to take the risk?

3. Illinois

Now, the cheating in marriage legislation for Illinois is serious.  Both cheaters could face up to one year jail time if you are caught cheating in the state of Illinois.  

4. Idaho

Expect cheating in marriage law to command $1000 and potentially book you up for three years in the slammer if you live in Idaho.

5. Kansas

Follows similar laws as Florida, making sure that you remember that there’s no place like home!

6. Minnesota

So the jail time in Minnesota is not as steep by comparison to Wisconsin, it’s just up to one year, but you’ll need to be prepared to cough up to  $3000 for the privilege of cheating.

7. Massachusetts

Cheating is not a good idea if you are resident in the state of Massachusetts – it’s considered to be a felony to cheat with cheating in marriage legislation proposing up to THREE YEARS  jail time and a fine of up to $500. Is it really worth it?

8. Michigan

Michigan boasts unclear penalties for adultery.  It’s a class H offense, but the cost of your crime is quoted as being ‘jail’ or other intermediate sanction’*.  Jeepers! Who knows what you’ll be forced to do.

9. Oklahoma

Just when you thought Massachusetts cheating in marriage legislation was steep, it gets worse with possible jail time of up to FIVE YEARS!  Plus a fine of $500.

10. Wisconsin

Expect a $10,000 fine (yes that’s not a typo) and, AND the possibility of three years behind bars.  Eek! This is one place where you don’t want to be cheating.

Cheating in marriage law is a minefield of mixed boundaries depending upon what state you live in, not just because of the fines and jail time but also in how they define cheating.  Not every state agrees on what is considered to be cheating and what is not.

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