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Is adultery illegal in Massachusetts?

There are few betrayals more shattering than infidelity. If your spouse is guilty of adultery, you may wish to initiate divorce proceedings in Massachusetts courts quickly and without a moment's doubt. You may also wish to pursue damages for emotional harm or other losses caused by the breach of the marital contract, but how far can you pursue these claims when adultery may be immoral, but not exactly illegal?

Except in the state of Massachusetts, adultery actually is illegal. Technically, per state law, both your partner and their paramour can be charged and imprisoned in state prison for up to three years, or fined and sentenced to jail for up to two years. But as satisfying as it may be to punish your spouse's infidelity with a little hard time, will any Massachusetts court actually prosecute him or her for adultery?

Likely not. The statute governing sentencing for adultery is a product of an older time, when sex and marriage were more closely intertwined. You may be able to use infidelity as a determining factor when seeking favorable outcomes and greater damages in a divorce settlement, but for the most part infidelity as a criminally prosecutable act is not something that most courts will decide on in this day and age. While you may be denied revenge, you still have the option of extricating yourself from the marriage and separating yourself from the person who caused you harm.

This blog post is intended for informational reference only, and does not constitute legal advice.

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