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How does cheating affect military divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2023 | Military Divorce

Military personnel are subject to higher moral standards than the average Joe. Uniformed personnel are expected to demonstrate good conduct to avoid disgracing themselves or tarnishing the military’s reputation. In the armed forces, adultery is not just an indecent act but a criminal act that carries heavy repercussions.

What constitutes adultery in the military?

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) sets forth the laws and standards that service members must abide by at all times. As per Article 134 of the UCMJ, a military spouse commits adultery when they meet the following conditions:

  • Engaged in extramarital conduct with someone
  • Knew that they or their sexual partner was married to someone else at the time
  • Engaged in actions that were against “good order and discipline in the armed forces” or were of a nature that may likely “bring discredit upon the armed forces”

The third condition is quite complex. Military commanders will consider a number of factors to determine whether the accused’s misconduct discredits the armed forces, such as:

  • If the servicemember in question or their sexual partner was legally separated
  • The marital status and military rank of the parties involved, including the accused’s spouse
  • The impact of the adulterous act on the military unit
  • If there was a misuse of government time and resources to perform the misconduct
  • If the misconduct was committed with other UCMJ violations

The consequences of infidelity

A military spouse who commits adultery may find themselves facing Administrative Disciplinary Action or Court Martial. A conviction can result in a demotion, discharge from service, loss of benefits and up to a year in confinement. Adultery may also have an impact on key divorce issues such as spousal support, child support and a non-military spouse’s eligibility to military retirement.

Allegations of adultery can severely harm a servicemember’s reputation, livelihood and future. A court-martial will go the extra mile to exact discipline on those who might tarnish its image. When the stakes are this high, it may be necessary to consult an attorney.

From offices in Augusta-Richmond County we serve clients in neighboring communities including Grovetown, Thomson, Waynesboro, Harlem, Lincolnton, and Wrens. Beyond Augusta we handle cases in Columbia County, Burke County, McDuffie County, Lincoln County and Wilkes County. We also proud to represent military families and veterans from Fort Gordon, Hunter Army Airfield, Fort Stewart, Fort Benning, Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem.