As if the guilt of being unfaithful to your spouse was not punishment enough, in New York State you could be charged with a crime. From the days of pinning the scarlet letter “A” for adulterer on a cheater’s jacket stems what can only be deemed as an outdated law. Outdated or not, when it comes to getting a divorce, people go to great lengths to be ruthless.
Technology makes it easy
Today all it takes to announce your partner’s infidelity is a quick Snapchat or Instagram message to your friend group; even a Facebook status will do the trick. A literal click of a button and now everyone knows about your partner’s cheating ways. While this may feel so very deserved at this point in time, it is crucial to consider how revealing your spouse’s bad choices in a social media rant could affect you in a divorce.
Moral police? Nope, it is the NYPD
In a letter to the editor, The Times records the “legal” ban on adultery taking effect in the state of New York on Sept. 1, 1907. From that moment on, if you cheat you could get slapped with a class B misdemeanor. Since the 1970’s only an estimated 12 people have been charged with adultery which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail or a fine of $500. The chances of you actually getting thrown behind bars for having a fling with a Tinder match are slim to none.
Adultery is not collateral security
Doing time is one thing, but when it comes to cheating and divorce, the situation can go from bad to worse. In New York, soon to be ex-couples are given the option of seeking a “fault” divorce. Adultery is included, among other acts like inhuman treatment and abandonment as martial fault. Typically, adultery per se is not necessarily considered when awarding alimony or dividing marital property.
Just because there was cheating does not guarantee alimony. There is an exception, however. If one partner is involved in an adulterous relationship and they spend gobs of money on their lover, the judge may interpret this as a reckless misuse of martial assets. In that case, cheating would play a role in the judge’s awarding of alimony.