Cheating Spouses Leaving Digital Trails

Adultery...is a hot button. After all, it’s no secret that cheating, aside from financial problems, is one of the main causes of divorce. Before around 1997, it was easy for most people to cheat. Back in the 1990s, few people had cellphones, and no one had cellphones that could take pictures and record videos.

Before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tinder, online dating was a new concept. Most people hooked up the old fashioned way, by meeting at work, the gym, bars, nightclubs, church, and through blind dates. But now that it’s the 21st Century, all of that has changed. These days, millions of people meet, find a “match,” and conduct much of their romantic communications via text, email, and direct messages.

Cheating Spouses Leaving Digital Breadcrumbs

Cheating spouses are in the habit of leaving digital breadcrumbs of evidence behind. Don’t get us wrong, they go great lengths to delete evidence, but it’s virtually impossible not to leave some kind of evidence at some point, which is eventually discovered by a suspicious or an unsuspecting spouse.

A cheating spouse may delete their emails and direct messages, create fake names in their contacts for paramours, install secret messaging apps, create fake Instagram accounts, and even go so far as to create secret emails and get secret side phones, but they almost always get caught by someone, whether it’s their spouse or someone who knows their spouse.

When an innocent spouse is suspicious that their husband or wife is committing adultery, it’s not uncommon for them to put on their investigator’s hat. If a suspected spouse is in fact cheating, he or she may lock the innocent spouse out of their phone – a red flag. The cheating spouse may say, “I have a right to my privacy!” but that can be a sign that he or she is in fact, hiding something.

A Suspicious Spouse’s Determination

A suspicious spouse can be very determined to find out if their husband or wife is cheating. If their spouse always seems to be attached to their phone, they may wait until their cheating spouse is in the shower or fast asleep to sneak a peek at their phone.

If there is a password, they may try very hard to figure it out. And once they’re in, they’ll spend hours searching for evidence of an affair. And, what if such a spouse does find what they’re looking for? Can they use it in their California divorce?

Here’s the deal: California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that judges are not interested in adultery. So, if you’re planning on using your spouse’s affair as ammunition for child custody or spousal support, unfortunately, you may be wasting your time.

However, if your spouse has wasted marital assets on their affair, that may impact property division. For example, if a husband spent $10,000 of marital funds on his girlfriend’s plastic surgery, his wife may be awarded an additional $10,000 to make up for it.

Please note that when someone snoops on their spouse’s emails, texts, and direct messages, they may be breaking state or federal privacy laws, or both. Unless it’s a public post on a social media platform in the person’s News Feed, evidence of cheating may be inadmissible in court and the snooping spouse may actually be breaking the law.

Next: Does Cheating Impact Spousal Support in a CA Divorce?

If you have any questions about the information in the post, or if you need divorce advice in San Diego, please contact Cage & Miles, LLP!

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