States Where Adultery is Illegal in US

States Where Adultery is Illegal in US. In which states is it illegal to cheat on your partner? A person who commits adultery usually involves intimate relations with someone not related to them in a married relationship. There are, however, different punishments for such acts depending on where you live.

States Where Adultery is Illegal in US
States Where Adultery is Illegal in US

There is no doubt that cheating on a partner can cause high emotions and a breakdown in trust. Relationships and marriages can also end because of infidelity depending on the couple.

Acts of infidelity are punished with imprisonment, fines, and exile in places where the law is influenced by religion, such as in some Middle Eastern countries.

In the United States, many states allow someone who has been cheated on to sue in civil court.

If residents of these states are unfaithful, they can suffer the consequences listed below:

South Dakota

In South Dakota, the alienation of affections law still allows a married person who has been cheated on to sue the “other” man or woman with whom their partner has a relationship.

It was created as part of English common law during the 17th century when women were considered the property of men.

In an alienation of affections case, the prosecutor doesn’t have to prove that their partner had sex with another person, only that their extramarital relationship reduced their love and attention.

A gender-neutral law was passed in 2002 in South Dakota that allowed women to sue the “other” woman. Prior to that, men could only sue their wives’ husbands if they had had affairs with them.

According to the Argus Leader, a local newspaper, one surgeon was fined $400,000 for sleeping with a married woman in 2002.

New Mexico

The state of New Mexico also has a law prohibiting alienation of affections.

It is difficult to prove cheating in most cases, and the cheater is rarely prosecuted.

According to New Mexico District Judge Alan M., “it was accepted that ‘in a free and democratic society, certain offensive conduct, as well as some obnoxious or morally deviant behavior,’ must be tolerated and that the application of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, or outrage, is restricted to the most exceptional of circumstances.” In a 2010 Albuquerque Business Journal article, Malott discussed the law’s shortcomings.


Even today, “alienation of affections” is often used in Mississippi courts to punish unfaithful spouses.

This law was passed by the state in 1926, and a spouse can use it if they feel their spouse has wrongfully deprived them of their spouse’s services, companionship, or consortium because of willful interference with the marriage relationship. Danks, Miller & Cory is a family law firm that handles divorces and family matters in Mississippi.

In these cases, as in other states, if the third party is found guilty, money will be awarded. In damages cases such as lost affection or companionship, the jury decides how much money the plaintiff should receive.

Illinois:States Where Adultery is Illegal in US

There is a law in Illinois that allows cheaters to spend up to a year in jail and pay a fine of $2,500, but the law is rarely enforced.

There is a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500 for cheating in Illinois, which is a Class A misdemeanor. It is rare, however, for the law to be invoked.

Illinois used to have alienation of affection laws as well, which allowed for damages against those accused of home destruction. A “heart balm” law could provide legal recourse in cases of marriage conflict, for example, when a marriage contract was broken.

In 2016, however, all heart balm laws, including those relating to adultery, were repealed.


A law in Hawaii recognizes alienation of affections as a crime as well. There haven’t been any cases brought before Hawaii’s courts in the last few years.


An Oklahoma law punishes adultery with five years in prison for a felony.

If you are found guilty of stepping out in Oklahoma, you are facing felony charges. A five-year prison sentence fines up to $500, or both can be the consequences.

A divorced person cannot cohabit with another person within 30 days of the divorce or remarry within six months of the divorce.


According to section 4184 of Alabama’s Code of Law, if a man and a woman commit adultery or fornication together, each of them must pay a fine of not less than $100 for the first offense, and they may also be imprisoned or sentenced to hard labor for a period of no more than six months if convicted.

When the offender is convicted of the offense for the second time, he or she must pay a fine of not less than $300, be imprisoned in the county jail, or be sentenced to hard labor for the county for a minimum of 12 months; and for any third conviction with the same person, you must be imprisoned in the penitentiary or incarcerated for two years in hard labor for the county.”


Nevada Courts can award alimony to a wife or husband if they do not have the financial resources to pay for their own expenses after a divorce. It is not uncommon for courts to award alimony in addition to dividing the couple’s property, especially when one spouse does not earn much money.

Many couples sacrifice education or career opportunities during their marriage to care for their households and children. When two spouses with different financial resources do not have enough resources to support each other, alimony may be awarded.

There are two ways of paying alimony in Nevada: periodic payments, which can be made on a monthly or annual basis, and lump-sum payments, which are usually made in one lump sum. In most cases, periodic alimony payments come to an end when either of the supported spouses remarries, or when both spouses die. A court can also award periodic alimony for a limited period, or until the supported spouse obtains employment.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, adultery can be used as a basis for divorce. A third party who breaks up a marriage can also be sued by an innocent spouse in North Carolina.

If a man and a woman, not married, associate, bed, and cohabit in a lewd and lascivious manner, they will be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor: The admissions or confessions of one shall not be admissible in evidence against the other.

The state of North Carolina allows spurned spouses to seek financial retribution.

North Carolina has alienation of affections laws that allow you to sue an unfaithful partner (and their lover).

An award of $8.8 million was awarded to the lovelorn husband in one case where the plaintiff sought both compensatory damages and punitive damages. Approximately 200 alienation of affection cases is filed each year in North Carolina, according to a local law firm.

Defendant and Defendant of “Criminal Conversation and Alienation of Affection- A North Carolina civil lawsuit can be filed by an innocent spouse against their spouse’s lover, alleging “criminal conversation” or “alienation of affection.”

When injured spouses file such lawsuits, a judge or jury can order the “defendant” (third-party lover) to pay compensatory damages. Compensation includes money damages for loss of consortium (marital affection and fellowship), mental anguish, humiliation, health injuries, and support loss.

Punitive damages (money damages to punish defendants for their bad actions) may also be requested by innocent spouses.). Despite the similarities between criminal conversation and alienation of affection, both are separate causes of action that require different kinds of evidence.

South Carolina

The court may indict any man or woman who commits the crime of adultery or fornication, and upon conviction, they may be fined not less than $100 or more than $500 or sentenced not less than six months or more than one year, or both fines and sentences, depending on the circumstances.

When either of them is lawfully married to another person, they engage in habitual carnal intercourse with each other without living together. Adultery refers to living together and having carnal relations with each other.


If an adultery act is committed between a married woman and an unmarried man, both parties to such an act are deemed guilty of adultery; and if such an act is committed between a married man and an unmarried woman, the man shall be held guilty of adultery. ‘When an act of adultery is committed by a married man against an unmarried woman, the man is deemed guilty.’

It has been ordered, adjudged, and decreed that Hans Nielsen, who was duly convicted of adultery in this court, be imprisoned for one hundred and twenty-five days in the penitentiary of the territory of Utah, in the county of Salt Lake.

New Hampshire

In the case of married individuals, engaging in sexual relations with someone who is not their spouse would constitute a class B misdemeanor, and in the case of unmarried persons, engaging in sexual relations with someone they know to be married would constitute a class A misdemeanor.

Read also: Can you get jailed for adultery in Virginia?; Is adultery a crime in Australia?; Differences between concubinage and adultery; Which Countries are Adultery illegal?; What to see in United States, tourist attractions Video

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