Punishment for adultery in South Carolina. Marriage is an institution that rests on love, trust, and loyalty. If a husband and wife indulge in an extramarital affair, they not only break their partner’s trust but also ruin the foundation of the marriage.
Although many marriages survive through these difficult times, most marriages end in divorce.
However, adultery or extramarital affairs have become common nowadays. These are the most common reasons for divorce worldwide. The person who commits adultery not only has to face social and religious degradation but also has to face many legal consequences for their deeds.
If you live in South Carolina and have been the victim of your partner’s adultery or have committed adultery, you should be aware of the legal consequences of adultery. Knowing adultery laws and their penal provisions prepares you for the unexpected.
Let’s delve deeper into the meaning and punishment for adultery in South Carolina.
What is Adultery under South Carolina law
Like most states, adultery is considered a crime in South Carolina. Adultery or extramarital sex get commonly defined as a voluntary sexual relationship between a married person and another person not being their lawful spouse.
According to South Carolina law § 16-15-70 (2012), when two persons of whom one is legally married; live together and engage in carnal intercourse or, if not living together, they engage in habitual carnal intercourse with each other, it is called adultery.
Thus, South Carolina only recognizes sexual affairs as adultery, which means that emotional or virtual affairs do not count as adultery.
Besides, South Carolina considers adultery a legal ground to get a divorce.
According to South Carolina law § 20-3-10 (2012), any person can seek a divorce based on the following grounds
- Physical cruelty
- Habitual drunkenness
- Living separate and without cohabitation for one year.
Thus, adultery is a legal basis for seeking a divorce in South Carolina.
In addition, your spouse’s adulterous act can greatly benefit you during the divorce proceeding when finalizing important issues such as alimony, child custody, and property division.
Thus an accused spouse not only faces criminal charges in South Carolina but suffers several losses during the divorce process.
What is the Punishment for adultery in South Carolina
Historically adultery was considered a serious crime and subject to severe punishment such as capital punishment, mutilation, or torture. As times changed, some countries abolished these penalties and adopted new laws. However, in states where adultery is still considered a crime for which punishment varies from fine to life imprisonment, in the worst scenario, capital punishment.
Unlike most states, in South Carolina, adultery is illegal and punishable.
According to South Carolina law §16-15-60, whoever lives together and is involved in carnal intercourse or not living together; engages in habitual carnal intercourse with any person, not their legally wedded spouse, is guilty of committing adultery. Further, the guilty spouse will be subject to a jail time of a minimum of 6 months which may extend to 1 year, a fine of a minimum of $100 to $500, or both.
Thus, it clearly states that a person committing adultery is liable to get with; 6 months to 1-year imprisonment, or a fine of $100 to $500, or both.
Besides, you may suffer serious financial implications during divorce proceedings in South Carolina.
Can you go to jail for committing adultery in South Carolina?
As discussed above, South Carolina law §16-15-60 explicitly states that whoever is found guilty of committing adultery is liable to receive imprisonment for a term that varies between; 6 months to 1 year or a fine ranging from $100 to $500 or both.
Thus you may get jailed for up to 1 year in South Carolina for committing adultery. However, adultery rarely gets prosecuted in a South Carolina court. It is difficult to prove adultery in South Carolina because of the high standard of evidence required to prove adultery.
Although the punishment for adultery is still in the law books, there is a possibility that you could get punished for the said offense.
Besides, the mere fact that adultery is a crime can have serious financial implications.
What are the consequences of adultery in divorce proceedings:
According to South Carolina law § 20-3-10 (2012), adultery gets recognized as a legal ground to seek divorce. Thus, any person can file for divorce on the grounds of adultery in South Carolina. Adultery may result in unfavorable outcomes during a divorce proceeding.
A divorce proceeding initiated on the ground of adultery in South Carolina has a great impact on three main issues mainly:
If either of the spouses is found guilty of adultery, the court may impose a permanent bar on the accused spouse from receiving alimony; from the innocent spouse. Thus if any spouse gets engaged in a sexual relationship with another person except their legally wedded partner, the court may refuse to give you spousal support.
- Property distribution:
When dividing marital assets and debts during the divorce process, judges take several factors into account. One of those factors is marital misconduct or the fault of the parties. The court considers whether the accused spouse’s adulterous behavior has affected the financial condition of the innocent spouse or lavished matrimonial funds on their love. The court may award a substantial portion of the marital property to the innocent spouse.
- Child custody:
When deciding who should have child custody, the court considered child welfare the most. Although adultery does not make a parent ineligible for child custody, it can get used as a tie-breaker. The alleged party may question the parental fitness of the accused spouse during the trial. Thus, the accused spouse may lose their child custody case because of adultery.
Wrapping up:Punishment for adultery in South Carolina
Adultery can invite serious consequences in South Carolina. Whether you are the victim or the accused, you should have an experienced lawyer on your side to tackle this situation efficiently. An experienced lawyer can guide and suggest to you every step.
This post is also available in: English