How to Prove Adultery in the Military? – Military Rules for Adultery

Blog Written by JOHN COTTON / Fact-checked by LOGAN MILLER

how to prove adultery in the military

Adultery in the military can have severe consequences for the accused, including discharge from the military, loss of rank, and even confinement. However, this is a complex process that requires careful investigation & concrete evidence.

So, how to prove adultery in the military? What are the military rules for adultery?

This article will answer the questions above and provide some useful tips to build a strong case against the accused.

What Is Considered Adultery?


Adultery is considered a serious offense in the military, and as such, it breaks the standards of the UCMJ article 134.

In the military, what qualifies as adultery? In order to successfully prove adultery in a military court, all three of the following conditions must be established beyond a reasonable doubt.

  1. Sexual intercourse evidence: There must be proof that the accused engaged in sexual activity with someone other than their spouse.
  2. Marital status: The accused knew that both parties involved were married at the time of the sexual encounter.
  3. Wrongfulness: The conduct was prejudicial to good order and discipline or of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.

The second factor is easy to prove, but the first and third ones challenging to find evidence.

Proving the element of sexual intercourse requires specific evidence such as photographs, witness statements, or confessions of the accused.

Besides, certain defenses may be raised in an adultery case, such as “Mistake of Fact”. It is important to be aware of these defenses and address them during the case.

You can check the UCMJ article 134 adultery pdf here: [PDF] UCMJ article 134

The Military Rules For Adultery


Is adultery illegal? Yes. According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, adultery is a serious criminal offense that can result in punishment for the members involved.

Adultery is defined as engaging in sexual activity with someone other than one’s spouse or cheating on your spouse.

There is an infidelity military law that outlines the rules surrounding adultery:

  1. Adultery is now officially consideredExtramarital Sexual Conduct and is not restricted to any particular gender or sexual act.
  2. It is only considered a punishable offense if it disrupts the good order and discipline of the military or damages the Armed Forces’ reputation.
  3. It is important to understand that mere sexual conduct is not enough to warrant punishment.
  4. The individual accused of adultery must have caused significant harm to the reputation of the military.
  5. It could be defended if adultery occurred during a marriage in the process of legal separation or dissolution, such as when filing for divorce.
  6. It should be noted that this defense applies to both parties involved in sexual conduct.

Legal separation from a spouse at the time of the alleged intercourse is not a viable defense against charges of adultery.

Service members accused of adultery may face administrative action or a court martial.

Steps to Prove Adultery in the Military

Step 1: Get Ready Before Collecting The Evidence


  1. Determine your motivation for proving adultery, as certain states no longer consider spousal misconduct when distributing marital assets.
  2. Read your state law to see if adultery is considered during a divorce.
  3. Determine why you suspect adultery before gathering evidence, as those suspicions may be incorrect.
  4. Meet with a lawyer to know whether you need to prove adultery and to understand the legality of collecting evidence.

Step 2: Gather The Evidence

  1. Look for proof of a romantic relationship, such as love letters or physical contact like kissing.
  2. Search credit card statements for unexplained purchases, and go through phone records for regular calls to a particular number.
  3. Be aware of the legal issues involved in installing keylogging software.
  4. You can conduct a military adultery investigation by getting eyewitness testimony or hiring a private investigator.

Step 3: File Your Report


  1. After collecting enough evidence to build a strong case, file your report for adultery. More details on this later.
  2. In case the evidence is strong enough, the accused could face a court martial.

Step 4: Aid The Investigation


The court martial will assign an investigation into a case of adultery if the case is worth persecuting.

If you believe your accusation is true and have clear proofs to back it up, present them to the court martial.

Remember, in order to prove that a military personnel has committed adultery, they must have violated all three elements under article 134 of the UCMJ.

Therefor, to stick the adultery accusation, your evidence must prove the following:

  • During the incident in question, the accused had sexual intercourse with a co-actor.
  • At the time of the encounter, one or both of the persons involved was married to someone else.
  • The act was deemed detrimental to the military’s standards and discipline, or brought disrepute upon the military.

Also, it’s crucial to note that there are other considerations made by the court during the investigation. They include:

  • The relationship between the involved and the military.
  • The potential influence of the case to the unit and the military as a whole. Whether it causes disruption in morale, efficiency, or teamwork.
  • How much time and resources will be spent for the case

If you find the evidence can decisively prove all of the above, you will have a case you cannot lose.

How to Report Adultery?


In the military, there are two options for reporting adultery. The first one is to report to the commander of the accused directly:

  • However, the commander may not take action and give a warning to the accused.
  • If you are serious about pursuing legal action, reporting adultery may not be the best option.

The second way is to file for divorce:

  • Although this option may result in the accused being punished, it can also negatively affect the spouse.
  • For example, the spouse may receive less child support if the accused forfeits pay.
  • Besides, they may lose benefits as a military spouse if the accused is dishonorably discharged.

Therefore, both options should be carefully considered before taking any action.

The Punishment

What happens if you commit adultery in the military?

As per army adultery policy in particular and military adultery laws in general, the consequence of committing adultery for service members can be severe.

If you’ve been found that you’re cheating on your spouse, the penalties can be tough, including:

  1. Dishonorably kicked out of the military
  2. Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  3. Confinement for 1-year maximum.

Yet, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the misconduct, military personnel convicted of adultery are more likely to face less severe disciplinary actions:

  1. Administrative disciplinary action
  2. Administrative separation
  3. Court-martial
  4. Rank reduction
  5. Partial forfeiture of pay

Stats Of Adultery In The Military

Below is a table of military infidelity statistics from 2009 to 2019

Statistic Details
Reported military adultery cases (2019) 2,659
Adultery at least one in the military 70%
Military branch with the highest adultery rate (2017) The Army (42%)
Cases of military discipline and punishment for infidelity in the US Air Force (2014) 260
Adultery cases in the Marine Corps (2013) 101
Number of military soldiers believed that adultery could be a justifiable reason for dismissal (2010) 71%
Number of members attributed the end of their marriage to infidelity during deployment (2009) 38%
Adultery cases in US Military Academy at West Point (2011 to 2014) At least 30


Does CID Investigate Adultery?

In the army regulation, the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the US Army investigates various criminal cases that involve military personnel.

However, CID may not investigate cases of adultery if the maximum punishment is one year or less, as these are considered misdemeanor-type offenses.

Yet, if the allegation is that the accused intended to cause serious bodily harm during the fight or that the adultery was nonconsensual, CID may still investigate the case.

Thus, the severity of the offense and the circumstances surrounding it play a crucial role in determining whether CID will investigate and prosecute the case.

Why Is Adultery A Crime In The Military?

Adultery is considered a crime in the military because it is viewed as a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which is the military’s legal system.

The UCMJ prohibits adultery as it is considered conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, which is essential to the military’s mission and effectiveness.

Is Sexting Considered Adultery In The Military?

No. The definition of adultery in the military does not include sexting due to its lack of physical contact with an individual outside of a committed relationship.

It serves as a mode of communication that does not entail any physical engagement or breach of trust.


How to prove adultery in the military? Proving adultery in the Navy, the Army, or Marine Corps can be challenging and complex, requiring a thorough investigation process and sufficient evidence.

It is essential to follow the proper procedures and guidelines established by the military’s legal system to ensure that justice is served and the integrity of the military is upheld.

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