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Adultery is a felony in some states, but is it legal in Utah?

Nothing can adequately prepare you for the heartbreak of finding out your spouse has cheated on you. Yet, a shocking 22% of married men and 14% of married women have admitted to committing some form of infidelity. And, those numbers are on the rise. The laws differ widely from state to state. Though it’s rarely enforced, adultery in Wisconsin is currently a felony, and it’s punishable by fines and jail time. However, prior to 2019, adultery in Utah was only a class B misdemeanor. Currently, there are no laws that would jail people who are cheating on their spouses in Utah. However, cheating can still adversely affect your divorce.

Alienation of Affection

Recently, after a North Carolina man caught his wife cheating, he sued his wife’s lover for alienation of affection. The result of this lawsuit? The plaintiff walked away with nearly 9 million dollars. In some states, you can sue the person your spouse cheated on you with for alienation of affection. However, these lawsuits are often very difficult to prove. To win an alienation of affection lawsuit, you have to prove that the infidelity was the only reason the divorce happened. If there were other issues in the marriage, it may be difficult to sue your ex’s significant other for alienation of affection. Further, just because you have some evidence to this does not mean you should sue. Please see our blog on Alienation of Affection.

Filing for a Fault Divorce

Utah is a no-fault state, however, there is a caveat in the statute that allows you to use Fault, which could affect alimony and the length of alimony. If your spouse’s infidelity is the sole cause of the dissolution of the marriage, you may file a claim of fault. However, like alienation of affection lawsuits, you would have to be able to prove that the affair was sexual in nature and substantially contributed to the breakup of the marriage relationship. If your marriage had other issues besides your spouse’s affair, you probably do not meet the elements for fault. In cases of a cheating wife, or a cheating husband, most people file for a irreconcilable differences because it’s faster and much less costly. Furthermore, it can be difficult to prove that the affair was the substantial contributor for the divorce. In fact, some people struggle to prove the affair happened at all.

Preparing for Court

If your spouse cheated on you, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared for court. Depending on your circumstances, your spouse’s indiscretion may persuade the courts to divide your assets up differently, or order different amounts of alimony. You’ll want to get as many receipts, phone records, bank statements, and other pieces of evidence as you can. Though they might not affect anything, there’s always a chance that they could sway things in your favor. Your attorney will be the best judge when it comes to determining what your best options are.

When You’re Ready to Move Forward

Remember that your marriage can come back from infidelity. Check out our blog on surviving infidelity. If infidelity has damaged your marriage, CoilLaw is here for you. Our attorneys are experts in Utah adultery laws. We can help walk you through your options while looking out for your best interests. If you’re ready to move forward after your spouse has been unfaithful, contact CoilLaw today.


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