Written by attorney Howard A Snader

Arizona husband wants to enforce old adultery law against wife

Legislators are quick to enact new laws. In fact, 2012 brought in hundreds of new laws that became effective at the start of the New Year. The laws are created to reflect the changing needs and views of a society that is constantly changing itself. While new laws are often enacted en mass, it takes a lot longer to revisit old laws that are no longer enforced.

Cheating may be considered a moral crime, but most people do not consider it a criminal offense. This is not so in Arizona. Arizona Revised Statutes, ARS 13-1408 makes it a Class 3 misdemeanor to commit adultery and actionable once one of the spouses complains to an officer of the law. It is one of those laws that has become nearly forgotten, unused and most likely one in need of repeal.

Of course, most spouses who are cheated on seek divorce as recourse to the situation. One Arizona husband recently contacted the local police asking that they arrest his wife under the misdemeanor law. According to the husband, his wife has cheated on him multiple times, with several different people.

As with most, there is more to this story. When asked, the wife easily admitted to technically having extramarital affairs. The important part to remember, she reported, was that the couple has been separated. The wife wanted a divorce but could not afford one. In fact, many couples separate and date other people to determine whether they want to divorce or work on their relationship. Should all of those people be charged with a criminal offense or should we simply take a second look at a law that may be more than outdated?

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