Protecting Individuals, Families And Children Every Step Of The Way

For More Than 20 Years
Photo of Lisa A. Ruggieri P.C.
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Divorce
  4.  » Massachusetts family law: A discussion of the harm of adultery

Massachusetts family law: A discussion of the harm of adultery

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2012 | Divorce

When the recent scandal involving David Petraeus and his mistress exploded across Massachusetts and the rest of the nation the topic of adultery again became a topic of conversation. But this time, the subject became mixed with family law and the discussion ventured into territories where adultery could be considered a crime or, at minimum, seriously harmful to the stability of a family. Several states recognize adultery as criminal, although it is rarely prosecuted these days. However, adultery often lands couples in court for separation or divorce proceedings.

Adultery can be severely punished if the culprits serve in the armed forces, but it is usually only prosecuted when the service member has been involved in other criminal behavior. Adultery and other sexual offenses go all the way back to the days of the Old Testament. However, family law has radically changed since then. In an 1838 decision, a court ruled that adultery by a wife could result in a husband giving an inheritance to someone who is not his own blood. In the 1992 decision, a court ruled that adultery was a rejection of the other spouse and intimacy with another outside of the marriage.

Many states have abolished outdated laws concerning adultery. A 2003 Supreme Court decision ruled that consensual sex between adults was legal, but that decision still appears to be raising more questions than answers because at its root adultery can harm innocent people, especially the other spouse and any children they have between them. Although adultery remains a crime in 24 states and territories, it is unlikely anyone would actually be prosecuted for it.

Adultery can be grounds for divorce in Massachusetts and elsewhere. It is highly unlikely anyone would actually be charged with a criminal offense, but the damage affairs can do is widespread. Anyone involved in a marriage or other relationship marred by adultery and where children are present may have family law options available to them to pursue a legal separation or divorce. While adultery may not be prosecuted criminally, it could be considered a moral offense serious enough to warrant action from the other party.

Source: The New York Times, “Adultery, an Ancient Crime Still on Many Books,” Ethan Bronner, Nov. 14, 2012

5 Star Reviews

A Superb Lawyer!

Lisa guided me through the divorce process and helped me obtain my desired outcome. Throughout the entire process, she helped make the process as painless as possible. Lisa is truly a super lawyer who will be an asset to anyone that utilizes her knowledge, experience, dedication and abilities!

– Eric E.

Successfully Settled My Case With Just One Court Appearance

My ex husband is an attorney and I knew I needed a top notch attorney on my side in order to secure a favorable outcome. In less than a month, from start to finish, Attorney Ruggieri successfully settled my case with just one court appearance.

– Carol K.

All Of The Online Reviews Of Attorney Lisa Ruggieri Are True!

All of the online reviews of Attorney Lisa Ruggieri are true! If you need top-notch legal advice to land you on your feet post-divorce, I would highly recommend the Law Offices of Lisa Ruggieri. Lisa is very knowledgeable and draws a strong line around defending and protecting her clients.

– Eugenia Z.

She Was Aggressive And Never Backed Down

I found Lisa through reviews and was not disappointed. Lisa and her staff were great! They were very supportive and explained everything. She was aggressive and never backed down, even when I wanted to settle. She always looked out for my best interest, even when I didn’t want to. I can’t recall a single debate she lost during the entire case. If I were ever in a similar situation again (which will not be anytime in the foreseeable future!), I would call Lisa.

– Erik T.