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Military members face consequences for cheating

On Behalf of | Oct 15, 2019 | Firm News

For most divorces in Nebraska, infidelity isn’t a major issue. Given that most couples file no-fault divorces and that the Nebraska family courts cannot consider marital misconduct when dividing your assets, adultery has next to no impact on the average divorce besides perhaps being the reason for someone to file. Only in extreme cases will infidelity of any sort impact how the courts rule in a civilian divorce.

However, military service members should be aware of the additional risks of infidelity in a military divorce. Those who serve in the armed forces are subject not only to the civilian laws of the country and state in which they reside, but to military laws as well. The military criminal code has rules within it that are much more strict than the rules and laws that apply to civilians.

When it comes to adultery and extramarital affairs, the military has a relatively strict stance that could impact your career as well as your divorce. While many states with laws against adultery no longer enforce these rules, the military can and does still enforce its prohibition on adultery. That enforcement is one of many important considerations for military divorces.

If the extramarital affair meets certain criteria, there could be major risks

Adultery can be a crime under military law. Under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, adultery that meets certain specific criteria could be a crime. If either of the individuals engaged in an affair were an active service member and one or both of them were married to someone else, the service member could face military charges related to their infidelity.

However, the third requirement for criminal charges is that the affair somehow had a negative impact on the discipline of that service member or that the affair itself discredits the military. At one time, the code limited its scope to heterosexual intercourse, but as of Jan. 1, 2019, the definition has expanded to include other forms of extramarital sexual contact (oral and anal sex). However, these rules will not apply to those who have already legally separated from their spouses.

Consequences service members face if convicted include dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay and benefits, and potentially even a year of incarceration in a military prison.

Infidelity charges from the military could impact your divorce

While allegations of infidelity won’t necessarily impact your divorce, military charges related to infidelity might. For example, the courts will consider a sentence that involves incarceration or the risk of such a sentence when establishing a parenting plan and allocating child custody rights.

The impact of adultery charges on your career and earning potential could also influence child custody, as well as the asset division process. Understanding how the military views adultery and how charges can impact your divorce will help you develop a better strategy.