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Adultery rule and legal consequences in a military divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Military Divorce

Spouses of a military member often have different experiences than a civilian spouse. While this most often means that they are more prone to frequent moves and experiences periods of time away from their spouse, it also means considering laws and regulations that concern their marriage to the servicemember.

Similarly, there are laws and regulations that come into play when a divorce is imminent. While military divorces are often more complex than a civilian divorce, they can also be more complex due to the heightened standard of conduct a service member is expected to uphold.

Adultery and legal consequences

While there is a limited presence of legal consequences for extramarital affairs revealed in a civilian divorce, the military remains with their stringent stance on infidelity committed by its members. Thus, when a military member has engaged in adultery, they could face consequences under military law.

Despite the evolving social norms concerning adultery, the military maintains the adultery rule because there is an expectation to uphold their commitment to their marital vows. As such, if a military member is accused of engaging in extramarital affairs, they may be subject to a court martial. The likelihood of facing repercussions could increase if the infidelity involved another military member or the act occurred while on duty.

Recent changes

Traditionally, the adultery rule was only applicable in matters that involved heterosexual intercourse; however, the rules have changed. Now, they encompass same-sex intimate acts as well as other sexual acts in general.

Although the definition is broader now, there are some ways to protect yourself from the legal consequences under military rule. Leniency is given to those formally separated but not legally divorced.

If your military divorce involves allegations of infidelity, it is important to understand your rights and options when it comes to navigating this serious claim. A legal professional can help you understand the applicable military rules and regulations, allowing you to take the rights steps to protect your reputation and career while navigating the divorce process.


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