Cheating on your partner in seven US states could spell legal trouble – including Oklahoma where infidelity could land you five years in jail and South Dakota where you could be sued
- For a handful of places in the US the alienation of affection law still exists
- It allows a spouse to sue their love rival over an affair that ruined a relationship
- The law is still applicable in states including Mississippi, Hawaii and New Mexico
- In Oklahoma cheating could mean felony charges resulting prison time and fines
- Cases of alienation of affection have resulted multi million dollar settlements
Cheating on your partner in seven US states could spell legal trouble, including Oklahoma where it could land you five years in jail and South Dakota where you could be sued.
For a handful of places the alienation of affection law, which allows a spouse to sue their spouse’s lover over an affair that ruined a relationship, still exists.
The law applies to a third party who is blamed for the failure of a marriage by a deserted spouse.
It is still applicable in states including Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Hawaii and New Mexico, Business Insider reports.
In Oklahoma cheating could mean felony charges resulting in up to five years in prison, or a fine of up to $500, or both.
During the case of jilted husband Marc Malecek who sued the doctor his wife had an affair with in 2017, Judge Richard Dietz wrote in his opinion: ‘These laws were born out of misogyny and in modern times are often used as tools for enterprising divorce lawyers seeking leverage over the other side.’
Previous cases of alienation of affection have resulted in settlements of millions of dollars. One of the highest on record in North Carolina was for $30million.
It was awarded to the deserted wife of Raleigh business owner Donald Puryea who sued her husband’s new partner.
In Oklahoma adultery is classed as a felony charge which could mean five years in prison, or a fine of up to $500, or both.
The state also prohibits living with another person within 30 days of divorce or remarrying within six months.
For residents of Illinois cheating is deemed a Class A misdemeanor which could means a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
But the law is said to be rarely enforced.
Alienation of affections laws in North Carolina allow unfaithful partners to be sued.
To claim alienation of affection in North Carolina the plaintiff must prove there was genuine love between the spouses, that the love was destroyed, and that a third party caused the alienation, TMZ reported in 2017.
For a handful of places in the US the alienation of affection law still exists. It allows a spouse to sue their love rival over an affair that ruined a relationship, stock image
South Dakota also still has alienation of affections laws still in place, making them gender neutral in 2002 and allowing women to sue the other woman.
Before that it was only men who were only allowed to sue other men in affairs with their wives.
There are alienation of affections laws still in place but Judge Alan M. Malott wrote in a 2010: ‘It was accepted that ‘a free and democratic society must tolerate certain offensive conduct as well as some obnoxious or morally deviant behavior’ and that application of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, or outrage, should be limited to only the most exceptional circumstances.’
Cheats in Mississippi are still understood to be taken to court in the state, with money often awarded to the wronged partner.
Alienation of affections exists in Hawaii but there have been no recent cases reported.