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Judy Hedding

Adultery in Arizona

By January 14, 2012

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Arizona recently made national news (again) because a man in Glendale, Arizona called the authorities to have his wife arrested under Arizona's adultery law. Apparently she had cheated on him for more than 10 years, but he didn't take any action earlier because of the children. She admits to having extramarital affairs, but says that they are separated and can't afford a divorce.

In Arizona there is a law that states that if a married person files a complaint against his or her spouse claiming that the spouse had sexual intercourse outside of the marriage with another person, the cheating spouse may be found guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. You can find the law in Arizona Revised Statutes, ARS 13-1408. It reads as follows:

A married person who has sexual intercourse with another than his or her spouse, and an unmarried person who has sexual intercourse with a married person not his or her spouse, commits adultery and is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor. When the act is committed between parties only one of whom is married, both shall be punished.
B. No prosecution for adultery shall be commenced except upon complaint of the husband or wife.
According to Phillips Law Group, a Class 3 misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and possible fines.

Of course, Arizona isn't the only state with laws making adultery a crime. I actually saw a map online indicating which states have such laws.

Should there be time limit (statute of limitations) on such a claim? Would fewer people cheat on their spouses if they thought jail time might be a consequence? Would fewer single people have affairs with married people if they knew they could be prosecuted? Should adultery be a criminal matter, considering that Arizona is a no-fault divorce state (except in the case of a covenant marriage)?

Share your thoughts below under comments, and vote in the poll.


January 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm
(1) Marie says:

Only a misdemeanor? ;-)

January 15, 2012 at 4:36 am
(2) JJ says:

It is breaking a signed contract, after all. If a business broke their contract, you’d expect to be able to take recourse in the law.

January 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm
(3) rose says:

Breaking a contract is a civil offense and that is where the “recourse in the law” is taken — in the civil courts. They call it divorce.

January 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm
(4) Jennifer says:

But the adulterous spouse knowingly puts the other spouse at risk of many diseases, some fatal….not sure what the “punishment” should be, but it is breaking the vow that you took.

January 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm
(5) Jeff says:

This is the worst kind of case for breaking someones trust. I would much rather have someone beat me half to death. How about this thought, muggings are just between the two involved.

January 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm
(6) Fritz Hohenheim says:

Only prison? They need to be stoned for sinning against the lords law!!

January 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm
(7) PS says:

The adulteresses who snuck thru our guestroom window should be prosecuted. Two women that I know of frequently snuck thru the guestroom window to have sex with my husband while I slept on the otherside of the house in the master bedroom. After becoming suspicious, I put pancake syrup and cooking oil in the window seal so their clothes would be ruined while entering my home.

One of the women is an employee with the gilbert school district and my husband, her boyfriend coaches little league football. They make it a point to passionately kiss on the field in front of her 2 sons only when her ex is at the game. Seems to me she purposely tries to antaganize him.

I say prosecute women! They feel they are above morality and the law. Only people who do not cheat and have been cheated on strongly support this law. Cheaters would make light of this.

January 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm
(8) JB says:

I think this is a dumb law I think it opens the doors to more retaliation and possibly bigger offences. The loss of jobs due to those who are jailed kids could suffer in the war between spouses. And there is nothing closer in than the line between love and hate. Many shootings have come from the wars between spouces. Ruining sombody’s life will not change the fact that the love is gone. And this law will just aide bitter people in keeping the fight going ! I’ve been married 34 yrs and do not condone adultery, But I say again this is a dumb law.

January 24, 2012 at 9:37 am
(9) Wildfire says:

Obviously, spouses who don’t commit adultery will support this law. Anyone who has been cheated on knows that it’s a fate worse than death–not only emotionally, but also physically, with today’s life-threatening STDs. If a spouse feels “the love is gone,” the cheating adulterer should have the decency to let the spouse know it before moving paramours into the house as my spouse did. It’s the cruelest, most inhumane act in the world. One can only hope that what goes around comes around. As one who studies adultery puts it, “If an adulterer does it with you, he’ll (she’ll) do it to you.” Only a morally corrupt adulterer is too foolish to see it.

January 30, 2012 at 8:14 am
(10) d says:

yes there should be some recourse–my husband cheated on me and i ended up with an STD and many other complications as well as my trust in men is gone. Why should the cheater get to walk away scott free and we as the hurt just get pain and suffereing….Karma…i have a list of people you missed….hopefully that will come true

March 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm
(11) mdw says:

What if the wife gets pregnant while living with this other person. ?? What recourse does the husband have., they have 2 children one is with the wife.,and the other with the father… now all of a sudden she wants both??

March 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm
(12) Russell Columbo says:

When a business breaks a contract that contract is not licensed by the state. You want to drive a car you need to be licensed. Break the traffic laws and you are punished. Break the intent of your state marriage license and you are punished. Like it or not a different set of rules apply.

We live in the United STATES of America. If you don’t like the law try to change it or MOVE.

April 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm
(13) Joe says:

Fritz, thankfully this country does not operate under “God’s law”. And, it never should.

June 26, 2012 at 12:21 am
(14) VS says:

Confusing… When is the ‘contract’ broken- the first time he puts his hands on you?? the first time he emotionally abuse’s you?? AND what if after all the abuse YOU found someone who made you feel safe and laugh again….because he abandoned you?

April 6, 2013 at 11:21 am
(15) Ambrose says:

The US was founded under God’s laws.

April 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm
(16) julie says:

My nieces husband has had 4 kids in 2 years. only 2 of them came from her. there are 2 other mothers involved. The freak belongs in jail. He now has 5 and makes 7.75 hr. he is a little pig!!

May 6, 2013 at 11:30 pm
(17) LAC says:

Man I wish I knew this was a law three months ago ;) . Please explain though, if there is a law against adultery why is Arizona considered a no fault divorce state?

June 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm
(18) Mike says:

You will never find a prosecutor to charge your spouse with this. I was told it would never happen when I called to City Prosecutor’s office in

August 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm
(19) Braun says:

The state has no business being involved in marriage.

August 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm
(20) Tom says:

I got off active duty on 31 Dec 2012 and arrived home the 3rd week in January. I came home to a wife of 30 years who had a BF/FWB. I was very angry. The wife got an order of protection (actually a permit to be a tramp). One week after the order was delivered, I filed a police report with the City of Phoenix charging her and the predator with adultery. I received a formal letter stating that the City of Phoenix wasn’t going to do anything.

NOW, we’re divorced and the City of Phoenix is charging me with a Class 1 misdemeanor for filing a police report. Claiming violation of ARS 13-2810A2, 13-3601A(DV) and 13-3981B.

Where was the City of Phoenix of the State of Arizona that protected my rights or family from this predator while I was on active duty?

August 29, 2013 at 9:49 am
(21) H says:

It sounds like from the stories here that Arizona doesn’t enforce it’s own adultery law. That’s ridiculous. Adultery should be against the law & enforced. It’s a form of abuse & abuse is against the law. I have never felt so suicidal and homicidal my whole life. Adultery turns people into mentally ill psychopaths. I say that the offender pays for the divorce, serves jail time, pays a hefty fine, and pays alimony for destroying another person’s soul, heart, and mind. These monsters need to learn a lesson, and since they have no heart and empathy, they need to learn it by losing their freedom and money, because that directly affects them and will be the only way they will actually feel hurt for the first time in their miserable lives. Also, the piece of sh*t they were having sex with needs to face the exact same penalties, minus the alimony. Those wastes of oxygen may just stop whoring it up afterwards. People suck. Why can’t people just be happy? Stop being so destructive to yourself and others. Stop being a statistic. How ordinary is that? Be extraordinary and just learn to f*cking love.

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