Adultery is not a ground for divorce in jurisdictions which have adopted a no-fault divorce model.
In some societies and among certain religious adherents, adultery may affect the social status of those involved, and may result in social ostracism.
A single act of sexual intercourse is generally sufficient to constitute adultery, and a more long-term sexual relationship is sometimes referred to as an affair.
Historically, many cultures have considered adultery to be a very serious crime.
Polyamory, meaning the practice, desire, or acceptance of intimate relationships that are not exclusive with respect to other sexual or intimate relationships, with knowledge and consent of everyone involved, sometimes involves such marriages.
Swinging and open marriages are both a form of non-monogamy, and the spouses would not view the sexual relations as objectionable.
For example, New York defines an adulterer as a person who "engages in sexual intercourse with another person at a time when he has a living spouse, or the other person has a living spouse." In the 2003 New Hampshire Supreme Court case Blanchflower v.
In India, adultery is the sexual intercourse of a man with a married woman without the consent of her husband when such sexual intercourse does not amount to rape.In most Western countries, adultery itself is no longer a criminal offense, but may still have legal consequences, particularly in divorce cases.For example, in fault-based family law jurisdictions, adultery almost always constitutes a ground for divorce and may be a factor in property settlement, the custody of children, the denial of alimony, etc.Thus, the "purity" of the children of a marriage is corrupted, and the inheritance is altered.Some adultery laws differentiate based on the sex of the participants, and as a result such laws are often seen as discriminatory, and in some jurisdictions they have been struck down by courts, usually on the basis that they discriminated against women.