Definition of adultery in U.S. divorce law

Language Log (caution: be sure to open links from LL in a new window) and The Curmudgeonly Clerk have taken up a topic that started in The Volokh Conspiracy: a recent case in the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that a lesbian relationship did not constitute adultery.

Eugene Volokh’s main point was that Bill Clinton would have been right in New Hampshire – a bit facetious, since what is being defined is adultery, not sexual relations.

Language Log wrote:

bq. The Curmudgeonly Clerk dissects a case in which the result hinges on a set of interlocking definitions in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, cited as such in the court’s opinion. It’s obvious that legal decisions always depend on the meaning of words, but (knowing nothing about the law) I wonder how often the outcome hinges on definitions quoted from specific dictionaries.

I thought this might be more exciting than it is. I can think of a couple of incidents relating to translation where the court relied on bilingual dictionaries, seemingly quite unaware that they are unreliable.

However, the legal definition of adultery is something the courts do often have to consider. I am surprised there is no established definition here.

In England and Wales, there is one ground for divorce (irretrievable breakdown), but five facts by which it can be proved. One of these five facts is unreasonable behaviour: this is shorthand for behaviour by the respondent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to put up with. Another is adultery. Homosexual relationships are not adultery, but they can be unreasonable behaviour (not actually unreasonable, but such that the other spouse has grounds for divorce).

So the question is: what other ways are there of getting divorced in NH? I got a list in a popup window here.

bq. New Hampshire Divorce Law Summary

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