Many of us think we know what adultery is. We think it’s always been a pretty clear-cut thing. Some of us believe it’s an instant deal-breaker. Some may not see it as a big deal. Whatever the case, adultery certainly complicates a marriage, even a modern one. Let’s take a look at this contentious issue and how it may affect you!

Considering history

Way back in the day, adultery wasn’t quite as socially demonized as it became in more recent years. Of course, that was if the man was the one committing the adultery. Going back hundreds of years, and even into the previous century, it was seen as quite acceptable for married men to have multiple partners. (This, of course, wasn’t the case 100% of the time.)

But over the years it became something that people would see as an instant relationship-ender, regardless of who did it. Nowadays, more and more couples of trying to work through instances of adultery instead of heading straight to divorce. And then, of course, there’s the increase in open relationships to consider. How we view this issue does seem to be changing often. But it’s important to understanding that “adultery” doesn’t always mean what we think it means.

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Is adultery always adultery?

People often use the word “adultery” as a catch-all for any instance of what we define as cheating. But adultery actually means something very specific when the law gets involved. In fact, it’s important that you realize that adultery and infidelity aren’t exactly synonymous!

Adultery refers specifically to the act of having sex with someone aside from your married partner. This seems simple enough to understand. Generally, it means that, if you’re not married, it’s not adultery. But there are some states where adultery can only be defined as such if the “illegitimate couple” are a man and a woman. So adultery in homosexual marriage law becomes a lot more complex!

When children are involved

When we think about adultery and children, we don’t usually think about children who are already there. We think about the children who are the result of extramarital relations!

This creates all kinds of legal trouble, as I’m sure you can understand. If a woman has had the child in question, and f the parentage is known, and the married couple decide to stick together? Then the husband may choose to adopt the child. Of course, the biological father may not approve of this approach. If the parentage isn’t known, then a paternity test should be carried out. These days, you can even get a prenatal paternity test if you need an answer sooner.

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Effects on divorce

Remember the adultery problem in homosexual marriages I referred to earlier? The definition of “adultery” in some states may prevent homosexual couples from divorcing on the grounds of adultery. Strange but true!

Even in heterosexual relationships, adultery can complicate divorce proceedings. It’s important to know that even in states where adultery is still considered a crime, it’s rarely prosecuted. But it can result in certain agreements becoming void. Be sure to speak to a lawyer about the complexities that are introduced by adultery.