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The legal Category of Adultery Since the French Reform of July 11, 1975: The Contemporary Redefinition of Marriage as an Egalitarian and Private Union

Veronika Nagy

With a view to throwing light on contemporary changes in marriage and divorce as perceived through the prism of adultery, the most classic of marital sins, the present article examines the way in which the French divorce statute of July 11, 1975 has dealt with the juridical category of adultery, and what jurisprudential decisions have been handed down since that reform. It would appear, for example, that the legal abolishing of the asymmetry that existed between male and female adultery, the removal of the intrinsic notion of tort attached to adultery, the relative slackening of the duty of fidelity and the importance given to the nature of the circumstances surrounding the adultery, together with the interpersonal relationship between spouses, who are no longer split so absolutely into « the guilty one » and « the victim », all suppose a redefinition of marriage as an egalitarian and private union.