Discretion Expertise Results
Why Proof of Infidelity in Divorce Still Matters
For many who seek the help of a private investigator when facing potential infidelity during a marriage, the motivation is know the truth. They fear that everything their spouse says is a lie and they know infidelity is rampant, and they need to know what’s really going on. For others, they believe that proof of marital infidelity and adultery will help them to obtain a more favorable distribution of assets, parenting time or to obtain some form of punitive damages against the cheating spouse. The reality is that those types of outcomes don’t exist any longer, but proof of infidelity in divorce is still relevant in other ways.
Although most of the United States has taken fault completely out of divorce proceedings, proof of infidelity in divorce still matters in some situations and can be a valuable tool to helping achieve a more favorable settlement, particularly when the couple is wealthy, are in some way public figures or have sensitive careers. In these instances, the act of cheating is not automatically helpful. For instance, if the infidelity is something spontaneous and short lived, there may be no value in documenting it, but when an affair occurred, it can be worth more than gold.
During an affair, particularly one where the “other person” is not wealthy, it is easy for a good divorce attorney to raise the argument that the cheating spouse used “marital assets” as part of the affair or otherwise spent money on the other person. (i.e. hotel room and champagne, paid the girlfriends car payment, etc.) When they spent your money on their affair, you deserve restitution.
The second way in which proof of infidelity in divorce still matters is connected to the first. This involves using the proof of infidelity as a tool to bring the “other person”, and sometimes even more people, into the legal discovery process. This is done not merely to learn more about the infidelity and to help determine what martial assets were used on the affair, but it also serves as a tool to get the opposing party to settle. It can work like this: A spouse cheats with a co-worker. You get proof of infidelity from a qualified private investigator and then have a subpoena served on that person. You also know that three or four other co-workers are close to your spouse and that they are likely aware of the affair and they may have knowledge about the extent of it and how your money was spent on same, so you subpoena them too. As one can imagine, it will take approximately 3 seconds for those people to call your unfaithful spouse and say something like “I don’t want to be involved in this. Get me out of this now!” The same technique can work at the country club, vacation community, etc. What this does, aside from serving as a tool in discovery, is to create leverage to help motivate your spouse to settle. For most wealthy people, when their misdeeds create a public issue, the desire to adhere to social norms kicks in and they quickly work to get others who surround them, and are now involved, out of this burden they caused. Based upon our experience as professional private investigators who work for many of the top divorce attorneys, the cheating spouse becomes highly interested in preventing those adultery related depositions and they become motivated to find a way to settle.