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Dan, Retired JD
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Is adultery illegal in Arizona and what is the ...

Resolved Question:

Is adultery illegal in Arizona and what is the punishment for the cheating husband if it is used as reason for divorce by an angry wife?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dan replied 6 years ago.

Arizona is a "no-fault" divorce state, which means that all either party has to do is assert that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" to be able to force a divorce. For that same reason, the fact that there has been adultery is no longer material to the issue of divorce in Arizona.

In some states, what amount of spousal maintenance a party has to pay may be adjusted based on their level of fault in causing the marriage to come to an end. Arizona, along with many other states, has put an end to that system. Instead, how much spousal maintenance would be awarded is based almost exclusively on neutral and financial factors:
"To determine whether support will be awarded and how much the award will be, the court will consider factors such as: the standard of living during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the age, health, incomes, current assets, contributions to the other spouse's education, any financial unfairness during the marriage, and earning capacities of both spouses."
See http://www.rambolegal.com.hosting.domaindirect.com/FamilyLawArizona.htm

In most states adultery laws have been revoked. It appears that Arizona may be one that still has the law, but it is rarely prosecuted. I did run across the recent news story though from the blog of a Phoenix TV station:
"Adultery conviction in Arizona
12 News
Mar. 1, 2007 04:26 PM
It may sound unbelievable but a man and woman in Arizona have been convicted of adultery. Investigators busted Traci Beltcher and XXXXX XXXXX of Payson for having an affair.
Under an old state statute, if a spouse complains, you can have the alleged cheater arrested.
That is what happened here. Mrs. Parker demanded deputies arrest her husband and his mistress.
Gila County Judge XXXXX XXXXXttle says that it is not something she sees everyday in her courtroom. "It did make the local paper here. But it wouldn't be for me to make a determination on a law. The cases are filed here and I'm going process them."
Both parties in the case paid a fine."
See http://www.azcentral.com/12news/news/articles/adultery03012007-CR.html

But here is another adultery story in the news that looks like the act is not being charged:
"In Arizona, Adultery is a CrimeTuesday, March 21, 2006 | 7:56 AMBULLHEAD CITY, AZ-March 21, 2006 -- Stepping out on your spouse is more than grounds for divorce in Arizona. It's a crime.
A recent notation in the Bullhead City Police Department's crime log is raising some eyebrows.
According to the police blotter, a woman came in to report her husband was cheating on her. Bullhead City chief prosecutor Martin Rogers says the adultery law is still on the books. But he says it's not very likely the case will be prosecuted.
He's not naming the suspect or the complaining spouse."
http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/bizarre&id=4010302

Here is the actual Arizona adultery statute:
13-1408. Adultery; classification; punishment; limitation on prosecution
A. A married person who has sexual intercourse with another than his or her spouse, and an unmarried person who has sexual intercourse with a married person not his or her spouse, commits adultery and is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor. When the act is committed between parties only one of whom is married, both shall be punished.
B. No prosecution for adultery shall be commenced except upon complaint of the husband or wife.
See http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/13/01408.htm&Title=13&DocType=ARS

(By the way, I have witnessed several marriages that survived adultery an came out stronger for the work they did to salvage the marriage. That doesn't mean it universal, but shows it is possible. Best wishes for you either way.)

I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if you have any followup questions. If none, please remember to click on the ACCEPT link so that I may receive credit for working on this topic with you. (I'd greatly appreciate it!)

Thank you,

Dan

--------------

The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.

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Dan, Retired JD
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1164
Experience: Retired attorney, general practice, with an additional background in financial planning,
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