Can Cheating Spouses Also Cheat The System?

If you suspect that your spouse is cheating, Virginia law requires clear and convincing evidence.

More than 4,000 years ago, the law of ancient Mesopotamia stated that the punishment for both parties caught in the act of adultery was death by drowning — unless pardoned by the King. Many other regions had similar consequences 38 centuries ago. Luckily, laws in the United States have evolved since then and the penalties are less harsh.

According to Virginia law, adultery is the consensual sexual intercourse between a married person and another person who is not their married spouse. It’s important to note that in Virginia, like 18 other states, adultery remains a criminal offense. Unlike the relevant Oklahoma statute, which considers the crime a felony and calls for a five-year jail sentence, an adultery conviction in Virginia requires the cheater to pay a penalty fine not exceeding $250 and classifies the act as a Class 4 misdemeanor — the lowest-level criminal offense. The cheating spouse can often work the system by utilizing the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states: “[no person] shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This means that, even if asked under oath in a trial if he or she has committed adultery, a cheating spouse never has to admit to or deny the accusation.

Family law practitioners from all around Virginia can attest that the offense is fairly widespread but very rarely prosecuted; however, it is a fairly commonly used fault-based ground for divorce This is where CowanGates can help. Our Virginia family law attorneys have the experience to help you navigate through the entire divorce process — whether filing for fault-based or no-fault divorce — and become your trusted support system.


Contact an Experienced Family Law and Divorce Attorney in Richmond, VA

To speak with one of our family law attorneys in Richmond, Virginia, who have successfully handled hundreds of divorce cases, call 804-320-9100 today and ask to speak with Melanie Friend or Jessica Boutwell.

CowanGates | 1930 Huguenot Road | Richmond, VA 23235 | 804-320-9100 | 800-948-7160 |