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Friday, February 27, 2015

Is it against the law to cheat?


On Valentine's Day this year, I clicked on a private investigator's ad for discounted services.   I hired him and discovered Scott's torrid love affair on Ashley Madison and I've had to take a leave from blogging to deal with the aftermath.

Just kidding!  My absence was due to end of the month billing.

Anyway, out of curiosity and for professional research, I clicked on the ad.  Since then, Facebook has been inundating my page with advertisements and articles about cheating. By the way,  Ashley Madison is THE online playground for married cheaters, by the way.  At least, it WAS.  There may be an updated site, but I wouldn't know.

All this cheating hoo-hah reminds me that it's been 6 years since I have blogged about the legality of cheating.

Is it illegal to cheat on your spouse?  In 2009, it was illegal in 22 states.  Colorado then dropped out.

It's 2015 now, and only 21 states are against it. (Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Rhode Island).

I think New Hampshire recently repealed this law, so it is probably illegal only in 20 states now. Punishments, if caught, vary from $10 (Maryland) to a whopping 3 years in jail  (Massachusetts).

In California, it's not illegal to cheat.  There are no longer any laws in the Penal Code governing cheating.  You won't be fined, and you won't be thrown in jail.

Technically, when you say your vows, you enter into a contract, and Family Code 720 states "Spouses contract toward each other obligations of mutual respect, fidelity, and support."

I suppose if you find your spouse cheating on you, you can sue them for breach of contract.  Personally, I wouldn't sue Scott if I find him cheating. But one of you may decide to - just remember the code section, "FAMILY CODE 720".

SO back to my post: Are there any consequences from cheating and does it affect the divorce?

Top questions in this area:

1.  Can I get sole child custody and visitation because my spouse is a dirty, lying, no-good cheater?
No.  Cheating alone does not affect custody.  In California, custody is awarded based on the "best interests of the children".  Arguably, it's not in the best interests of children to be morally exposed to cheaters, but frankly, if you have a computer with wi-fi at home, they are exposed to far, far worse.  California is a very pro-joint custody (and not anti-adultery) state, so infidelity will probably not play as big of a role as you wish.  Some cheaters are actually pretty decent parents.

If you are pissed as hell that your spouse is cheating, and you want to use your children against him/her, don't.   If you want to tell your children your spouse is a lying sack of trash, don't.  The damage you do to your children by bad-mouthing half their DNA is FAR worse than the damage he/she did by screwing that whore.  Karma's a bitch! Let her do her work.

2.  Does it affect support?
No. Cheaters do not have to pay more child support.  It MAY affect spousal support.  Family Code section 4323 creates a rebuttable presumption that the cheating co-habiting spouse has a decreased need for support.  Great section!

3.  Does it affect property division?
Not necessarily.  But if the cheater is wasting community assets, you may have a claim against him/her - and force them to reimburse what they spent on the affair (s), with interest.  I once had a case where I represented the innocent. Her cheating, lying, no-good husband spent over $200,000 wining and dining the mistress (trips to Maldives, Cartier, LV, lingerie, French Laundry, etc.)  By the time I deposed the mistress, she had been long replaced, several times over. She obviously had no desire to protect the cheating, lying, no-good ex, and became very good friends with my client. I was able to secure all the information I need to reimburse the community within the hour.  Case settled.

In summary, California doesn't really punish cheaters as much as it should.  If you are being cheated on, you should probably look into self-help, like this man who hired a witch doctor to cast a muthi  (evil spell) on his cheating wife's vagina, which led to penis captivus of her lover.  Apparently, no medical intervention can separate them - they have to wait for the husband to revoke the curse.  True story. It just showed up right now on my Facebook feed.


Unknown said...

Exceptionaly well written, informative and down right hilarious. Perfect comic relief and great advice, legal and parental.

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