The law should punish cheating spouses and their lovers

Finally, there is a way for scorned spouses to make the person who broke up their marriage pay.

Literally.

Laws in seven states, including Utah, North Carolina, South Dakota, Hawaii, Mississippi, Illinois and New Mexico, now allow spouses of adulterous mates to sue their partner’s lover, according to CNN.com.

These “alienation of affection” lawsuits might be the best way for spurned spouses to keep their wandering partners in check. If their adulterous mates cannot find lovers, they cannot cheat. These lovers are as responsible for the adultery as their married partners and should face the consequences for violating a legally binding agreement.

However, a person who was unaware that his or her new lover was married should not pay for his or her bad judgment.

Of course, there are issues with these lawsuits. There’s the possibility that married couples could dupe a wealthy person into sleeping with either of them in order to collect damages. Fortunately, the legal system is designed to prevent these dishonest people from collecting damages they are not owed.

But those who are legitimately filing suits deserve compensation.

A man who has just discovered his wife’s infidelity might be mentally devastated, and monetary retribution, while it will not speed the healing process, will give him some sense of satisfaction that the person who destroyed his marriage is not walking away unscathed.

These lawsuits will most likely be more helpful than harmful for those who have been wronged. As with all laws, a person has nothing to fear if he or she obeys them. The guilty parties should face the penalty for taking wedding vows lightly – the spouse gets a divorce and the no-longer-secret lover gets a lawsuit.

The lesson here is simple: Be careful who you sleep with. His spouse might sue.

Kayla Mezzell is a junior geography and journalism major from Mesquite.