Arizona Divorce Laws Adultery
Arizona Divorce Laws on Infidelity
Arizona has criminal and civil laws on adultery. Arizona Revised Statute Section 13-1408 makes adultery a class one misdemeanor and Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-318(c) provides a civil claim of waste for any funds spent to further the adultery. Some people want to know what the Arizona divorce laws on adultery are? Does adultery have an impact on an Arizona divorce case and is there an Arizona anti-adultery law? Although going through a divorce can be a devastating emotional process, those emotions are intensified when the divorce is the result of adultery. There are Arizona divorce laws that apply when adultery causes a divorce.
Many people have questions regarding the Arizona divorce laws on adultery and the effect an adultery has in a divorce in Arizona. Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, which means the Arizona divorce laws on adultery provide that neither party is required to provide grounds for a divorce. All that is needed is for one of the parties to testify that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
However, this doesn’t mean that the Arizona divorce laws on adultery mean a spouse’s affair does not play a role in the Arizona divorce process. It also doesn’t mean that both the adulterous spouse or their paramour do not potentially face serious consequences relating to their affair under the Arizona divorce laws on adultery. Specifically, there are certain issues in the divorce case that render the infidelity relevant and, therefore, evidence of the cheating necessary to establish a claim of “waste of community assets.”
Financial Consequences of Adultery in a Divorce in Arizona
Arizona divorce laws provide that both spouses owe a fiduciary duty to each other in the management of their community assets and debts similar to the obligation partners in a business owe a duty to protect their mutual interests for the good of their jointly owned business. Therefore, any money spent by the adulterous spouse on their paramour or in furtherance of their infidelity may be considered a waste of a community asset.
The innocent spouse, under the Arizona divorce laws on adultery, would receive more of the community assets or, perhaps, less of the community debts that he or she would have otherwise received to compensate the innocent spouse. A qualified Arizona divorce attorney will look at cash withdrawals from ATM’s, credit card statements, and bank statements to determine if a husband or wife spent community assets on the affair.
Some states also recognize a personal injury claim of tortious interference with a marital relationship, which may enable the innocent spouse to file a lawsuit against the paramour of the adulterous husband or wife. Such actions are referred to as civil causes of action and are filed in state court or federal court if the mistress and the innocent spouse live in separate states. A jury can hear these cases. Not all jurisdictions recognize these types of lawsuits, so consult with an attorney in your state.
Criminal Consequences of Adultery in Arizona
Lastly, the Arizona divorce laws on adultery found in Arizona Revised Statute 13-1408 makes infidelity leading to sexual intercourse illegal in Arizona. Both the adulterous spouse and their paramour can be criminally charged and tried before a jury. If found guilty by a jury, they will be guilty of a class three misdemeanor and can face jail time. The statute, however, expressly provides that the law may only be enforced upon the complaint of the innocent spouse. Law enforcement may not arrest, nor may a prosecutor file charges, upon the complaint from a third party.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about the effect of infidelity in a divorce to ensure everyone has access to information about divorce laws in Arizona. Chris is a divorce attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce.