A wife can often testify against her husband in court in the United States. This wasn’t always the case, though, and the spousal privilege controversy has a lengthy and nuanced history.

Spousal privilege is a legal theory that gives married people the right to decline to testify against one another in specific situations. The premise behind spousal privilege is that because marriage is a holy and personal union, the government shouldn’t force spouses to testify against one another and maybe sabotage their union.

However, the way spousal privilege is used has changed over time. Two categories of spousal privilege are now recognized by the majority of states: testimonial privilege and communication privilege. While the communication privilege safeguards private communications between couples, the testimony privilege permits one spouse to decline to testify against the other in court.

Despite the presence of the spousal privilege, several governments now recognize exceptions that, under specific conditions, permit a spouse to testify against their partner. For instance, the other spouse might be forced to testify against their partner in court if one spouse is the victim of domestic abuse.

Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court has found that spousal privilege is not always valid and that it may be disregarded when doing so would be in the interests of justice. This means that if it’s required to ensure a fair trial, a wife may be forced to testify against her husband.

As a result, even though spousal privilege exists in many states, it is not a complete defense. If it’s necessary to uphold the interests of justice or guarantee a fair trial, a wife may occasionally be forced to testify in court against her husband. As usual, if you have any concerns regarding your legal rights and responsibilities in a particular situation, you should seek legal advice from an experienced attorney.