In the United States, military members are held in high honor. Because of this honor, it is only fitting that members of the armed forces expected to meet high standards of conduct, even in their personal lives, which is why it can be so jarring to find out that your military spouse has cheated.
Adultery is understood as an act that is unbefitting for a member of the armed forces to engage in. Under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), adultery is a criminal act when certain legal standards have been met.
Adultery as a military offense
For adultery to be considered a crime, three legal criteria that must be met. These are:
- A military member must have engaged in sexual intercourse with someone
- One person in the sexual relationship was married at the time
- The conduct of the accused affects good order and discipline or discredits military service
The first and second legal criteria are straightforward and understandable. The third criteria is more difficult to understand and can be even harder to prove.
Adultery charges are complicated
Usually, for adultery to be sincerely tried as a punishable offense in military courts, there must be some direct negative impact on the military itself. The circumstances surrounding this can vary drastically from situation to situation. Because of this, it is a good idea to consult with someone knowledgeable about military law so that you can make the strongest case possible.