In countries where adultery is a criminal offense, punishments range from fines to caning and even capital punishment.
Since the 20th century, criminal laws against adultery have become controversial, with international organizations calling for their abolition, especially in the light of several high-profile stoning cases that have occurred in some countries.
Adultery involving a married woman and a man other than her husband was considered a very serious crime.
In 1707, English Lord Chief Justice John Holt stated that a man having sexual relations with another man's wife was "the highest invasion of property" and claimed, in regard to the aggrieved husband, that "a man cannot receive a higher provocation" (in a case of murder or manslaughter). 1 (1751), also equated adultery to theft writing that, "adultery is, after homicide, the most punishable of all crimes, because it is the most cruel of all thefts, and an outrage capable of inciting murders and the most deplorable excesses." Legal definitions of adultery vary.
For example, New York defines an adulterer as a person who "engages in sexual intercourse with another person at a time when he has a living spouse, or the other person has a living spouse." In the 2003 New Hampshire Supreme Court case Blanchflower v.
Blanchflower, it was held that female same-sex sexual relations did not constitute sexual intercourse, based on a 1961 definition from Webster's Third New International Dictionary; and thereby an accused wife in a divorce case was found not guilty of adultery. Bushey, for adultery, a case that ended in a guilty plea and a 5 fine.
It is a non-cognizable, non-bailable criminal offence.
A police officer cannot arrest a person without a warrant in a case of adultery as adultery is a non-cognizable offence.
Most countries that criminalize adultery are those where the dominant religion is Islam, and several Sub-Saharan African Christian-majority countries, but there are some notable exceptions to this rule, namely Philippines, Taiwan, and several U. By analogy, in cultures which value and normally practice exclusive interpersonal relationships, sexual relations with a person outside the relationship may also be described as infidelity or cheating, and is subject to sanction.Another tort, alienation of affection, arises when one spouse deserts the other for a third person.A marriage in which both spouses agree ahead of time to accept sexual relations by either partner with others is sometimes referred to as an open marriage or the swinging lifestyle.Criminal conversation was usually referred to by lawyers as crim.con., and was abolished in England in 1857, and the Republic of Ireland in 1976.Polyamory, meaning the practice, desire, or acceptance of intimate relationships that are not exclusive with respect to other sexual or intimate relationships, with knowledge and consent of everyone involved, sometimes involves such marriages.Swinging and open marriages are both a form of non-monogamy, and the spouses would not view the sexual relations as objectionable.tended to adulterate the issue [children] of an innocent husband ...and to expose him to support and provide for another man's [children]".However, irrespective of the stated views of the partners, extra-marital relations could still be considered a crime in some legal jurisdictions which criminalize adultery.In Canada, though the written definition in the Divorce Act refers to extramarital relations with someone of the opposite sex, a British Columbia judge used the Civil Marriage Act in a 2005 case to grant a woman a divorce from her husband who had cheated on her with another man, which the judge felt was equal reasoning to dissolve the union.Thus, the "purity" of the children of a marriage is corrupted, and the inheritance is altered.Some adultery laws differentiate based on the sex of the participants, and as a result such laws are often seen as discriminatory, and in some jurisdictions they have been struck down by courts, usually on the basis that they discriminated against women.Adultery often incurred severe punishment, usually for the woman and sometimes for the man, with penalties including capital punishment, mutilation, or torture.