(A) Modern definition: The act of consensual sexual relations by a married person with a person other than his or her legal spouse. While considered a criminal act in some states, it is rarely prosecuted. In states that have fault-based divorce, adultery is always considered a grounds for fault upon which to base divorce proceedings. Adultery may also affect distribution of the marital property towards the non-cheating spouse. (B) criminal law. (old) From ad and alter, another person; a criminal conversation, between a man married to another woman, and a woman married to another man, or a married and unmarried person. The married person is guilty of adultery, the unmarried of fornicatiou. 2. The elements of this crime are, 1st, that there shall be an unlawful carnal connexion; 2dly, that the guilty party shall at the time be married; 3dly, that he or she shall willingly commit the offence; for a woman who has been ravished against her will is not guilty of adultery. 3. The punishment of adultery, in the United States, generally, is fine and imprisonment. 4. In England it is left to the feeble hands of the ecclesiastical courts to punish this offence. 5. Adultery in one of the married persons is good cause for obtaining a divorce by the innocent partner.
Law Dictionary – Alternative Legal Definition
Adultery is the voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with a person other than the offender’s husband or wife. Civil Code Cal.