Adultery: Is it Illegal in Arizona?


Today, it’s more likely for a married couple to get divorced than for them to stay together. According to the American Psychological Association, about 40-50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. One of the most significant reasons for divorce is adultery and for a good reason. Infidelity is considered the ultimate offense against a marriage.

How Is Adultery Defined in Arizona?

ARS 13-1408 defines adultery as ‘when a married person has sexual intercourse with another person other than his or her spouse or when an unmarried person has sexual intercourse with a married person who’s not his or her spouse.’

What Is the Punishment for Adultery in Arizona?

As much as it may sound odd, especially in the 21st century, committing adultery is illegal in Arizona. 

Whether married or unmarried, anyone who commits adultery as defined in Arizona is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor, the least harsh criminal classification.  A class 3 misdemeanor is punishable by $500 in fines, one-year probation, or up to 30 days in jail.  

When adultery is committed between parties and only one is married, both parties shall be punished.

Is the Crime of Adultery Enforced in Arizona?

While adultery is illegal, the crime of adultery is rarely enforced in the state of Arizona. For the prosecution of adultery to happen, the non-adulterous husband or wife must formally file a complaint with law enforcement. Since law enforcement doesn’t like to intervene in personal household matters, adultery often has consequences in divorce court. 

If the spouse doesn’t file a complaint with law enforcement, the unfaithful spouse cannot be detained or prosecuted.

Can Your Infidelity Be Used Against You During Your Divorce?

Generally, the answer is no. During a divorce, courts in Arizona don’t look for error on the part of either spouse. Arizona judges are prohibited from considering any evidence of adultery when decreeing on matters such as alimony. 

However, a record of adultery may tarnish your reputation in front of a judge and work against you if a child custody battle occurs. 

Looking for a Divorce Attorney in Arizona?

At Fruchtman Law Firm,  our Scottsdale divorce lawyer has experience handling numerous divorce cases.  

Visit our offices today or call us on 480209-1918 and talk to our divorce lawyer in Arizona to start the divorce process.