Effective January 1, 2015, adultery will no longer be a crime in the State of New Hampshire. While House Bill 1125 repeals adultery as a crime within the State, it does not remove adultery as a basis for a fault ground divorce in New Hampshire. Nonetheless, the repeal of adultery as a crime will have an impact on divorce proceedings where adultery is alleged as a fault ground.
It was common in adultery cases for the person accused of the adultery to plead their rights against self-incrimination and not answer questions regarding the alleged adultery as a truthful answer may incriminate him/her. Person who allegedly committed adulterous acts on or after January 1, 2015 may no longer be allowed to plead their rights against self-incrimination for any alleged adulterous act taking place in New Hampshire with another New Hampshire resident. If a spouse commits an adulterous act in a state which still recognizes adultery as a crime, such as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the spouse may still be able to plead his/her rights against self-incrimination. Similarly, if a New Hampshire resident commits adulterous acts in New Hampshire with a person who resides in a state that recognizes adultery as a crime, the New Hampshire resident may still be able to plead his/her right against self-incrimination in a divorce proceeding in New Hampshire.
If you have any questions regarding how the repeal of adultery as a crime impacts your divorce case, please do not hesitate to contact an attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan to discuss.
Kevin P. Rauseo is a former director at Hamblett & Kerrigan P.A. and has since been appointed as a Justice for the New Hampshire Circuit Court. Please feel free to contact another attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan to discuss your legal issues.