Adultery can mean different things depending on the context. Psychologists often speak of “emotional adultery” when referring to spouses who carry out explicit relationships with non-marital partners over the Internet. While such emotional affairs “do not involve physical contact,” according to one expert, these extramarital activities can be “just as devastating to the family as a physical affair.”
But from a legal standpoint, “emotional adultery” is not the same thing as adultery. Texas courts have long said that when it comes to citing it as grounds for a fault-based divorce, adultery refers exclusively to the “voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one not the spouse.” While you do not necessarily have to catch your spouse “in the act” to prove adultery, you still need to offer the court direct or circumstantial evidence that proves intercourse likely took place. As a Texas appeals court observed in a 2009 adultery case, “clear and positive proof is necessary and mere suggestion and innuendo are insufficient.”
Following the “Digital Breadcrumbs”
With that in mind, there are cases where evidence of an online extramarital relationship may be used to help prove adultery. Your spouse’s emails, text messages, and social media posts may contain valuable information about who they are speaking or meeting with when you are not around. Also remember, we live in an age where people commonly record and publish their every action. Even if your spouse did not leave any “digital breadcrumbs” for you to follow, the person they are seeing may not be so careful. For that matter, a third party may have photographed or recorded your spouse at a public event where he or she was seen kissing or engaging sexual activity with someone else.
In addition to evidence of intimacy or sexual activity, your spouse’s online actions may also lead you to uncover financial evidence supporting the existence of an affair. Obviously, if you notice any unusual charges to your credit card, you should be concerned. But also consider more unconventional financial activities. For instance, is your spouse “investing” in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin? This can be a useful way of hiding assets from you–and sending money clandestinely to a secret lover.
Get Advice From a Qualified Galveston Divorce Lawyer
To reiterate a critical point, circumstantial evidence may not be enough to actually prove adultery in court. Merely hiding money from you or seeing someone without your knowledge does not always add up to sexual intercourse outside of marriage. And even if you think you have sufficient evidence to prove adultery, it may not be in your family’s best interest to make such allegations in open court. After all, Texas does recognize “no-fault” divorce, so you are not compelled to prove adultery in order to get out of a failed marriage.
On the other hand, proving your spouse’s adultery can work in your favor when it comes to the court dividing marital property or determining whether to award you alimony. This is why you should speak with a Galveston divorce attorney to discuss your options. Contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates to schedule a consultation today.