Cheaters Beware?

Infidelity is always a touchy subject. Often times when a client brings up the issue of cheating, it is in reference to a divorce action. However we have also had at least one call about it in reference to its criminal penalties. Did you know that in the state of Wisconsin adultery is not only a crime, but it is actually a felony?

It’s true. Now, this is an antiquated statue, and to our knowledge the last time it was even charged was in the 1990’s. And to be fair, that case was eventually thrown out when it was determined that the prosecutor had filed the charges for personal and malicious reasons. For all intents and purposes, while it may not be a nice to cheat on your spouse, it is not something that is going to result in criminal charges.

Cheating & Divorce

Two frequent calls our office receives go something like this: ” S/He was having an affair! I want to take everything!” & “My wife/husband, is telling me I’m never going to see my kids again because I cheated on her/him.” Our office tells each caller the same thing: infidelity will generally have no effect on your divorce proceedings, the outcome of financial or property divisions, or the amount of placement time with children.

Infidelity can have various moral and ethical implications, but rarely effects the outcome of a divorce. However, as with most things, there are some exceptions to this rule. If an individual has spent an extremely large amount of money on an affair, it could possibly be deemed martial waste. Martial waste is limited in its scope however, and typically the time frame for consideration is around one year.

Placement time is less likely to be affected by infidelity during a divorce. The fact that someone stepped outside of his/her marriage, in the eyes of the law, has no bearing on their ability to be a parent. When determining placement time, the court is generally going to look at who was the primary caretaker, if an individual wants placement time, and the ability to care for the child.

The final line of questioning that we often are asked about in regards to infidelity is preventing the soon-to-be-ex-spouse from brining the person they cheated with around the children. In general, the court is not likely to forbid that they can ever meet or be around the children forever. However, there are methods to prevent individuals from introducing significant others to their children on certain time limits, or in specific contexts.


Separations and divorces are never easy, especially when there have been infidelities. If you are thinking about initiating a divorce action, or are currently in the midst of a divorce, call our office for a free consultation, and we can help you figure out your options, and work on how to get you the best results.