With the latest Ashley Madison hack scandal having just surfaced broadcasting the personal information and identity of 37 million members, many couples may begin to wonder whether virtual infidelity has an impact on divorce proceedings. More and more Americans rely on the internet to connect anonymously with others, and at times, this connection can lead to virtual infidelity in the form of cybersex, nude photos or even emotional infidelity. However, if there is no physical harm, does that automatically mean that there was no foul? Luckily, the answer is no. This article will take a look at what virtual infidelity is and how it impacts divorces. Read more about this topic below.
What Is Virtual Infidelity?
Before the age of the internet, infidelity was limited only to the physical world; however, the internet has expanded one's playing field significantly. The line regarding what constitutes as virtual infidelity is still up for debate, as it can be difficult to distinguish the tone of the conversation. However, undoubtedly, cybersex, the exchange of nude photos or even suggestions of sexual activity are considered to be virtual infidelity. Some couples would even consider having a profile at a dating site to be a sign of virtual infidelity.
Defining emotional infidelity through online communication can be difficult. You'll definitely need the help of a family lawyer to build a strong case if you're involved in this gray area. You'll need to claim virtual infidelity when going through a divorce. This includes taking screenshots of the entire conversation between your spouse and the other party or saving any photographs that were exchanged.
Does Virtual Infidelity Affect Custodial Arrangement or Asset Distribution?
If you or your family lawyer can prove that the primary cause of the divorce is due to virtual infidelity, you may be at an advantage during the divorce proceedings. In terms of custody of children and pets, proving virtual infidelity may not help your case much. Most judges agree that a person may not necessarily be a poor parent just because they were unfaithful; however, if your family lawyer can prove that the virtual infidelity affected your spouse's ability to take care of the children, you might have a case on your hands for full custody.
Being able to prove virtual infidelity will have the most impact on asset distribution. Although some states favor distributing assets evenly among partners, others do sway in favor of the wronged spouse. By proving that your spouse was unfaithful, you might be at a better advantage financially.
What Are Some Factors that May Affect the Impact of Virtual Infidelity?
Although virtual infidelity does have some impact on divorce proceedings, the degree of impact it may have will vary based on several circumstances. They include:
- the amount of evidence or proof that you have collected;
- the type of interaction classified as virtual infidelity;
- the length of time between the virtual infidelity and the divorce filing; and,
- whether the couples reconciled after the virtual infidelity came to light.
You will require the help of a family law attorney to build a strong case since the impact of virtual infidelity on a divorce will vary based on how the case is represented.
If you have discovered that your partner is unfaithful, the first thing you want to do is collect as much evidence as possible. It's easy for your spouse to erase his or her virtual identity and online trace if he or she suspects that you've caught on. Next, book a consultation with a family law attorney as soon as possible to determine what your next legal steps should be in regards to getting a divorce.