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How Should I Proceed If I Suspect My Spouse Is Cheating?

Though many states still consider adultery a crime, it is doubtful that you would ever be charged and sentenced because of it, regardless of where you live. However, it is important to remember that even though it may not put you in jail, infidelity can impact your divorce process. This is important to know, especially if you are the one who suspects the other spouse of engaging in it. 

Before continuing, we should define adultery through the lens of Alabama law. For example, can you claim your spouse is committing adultery if you discover an email or a text message? Although such communications may be used as evidence, you still need to prove that at least one act of illicit sexual intercourse took place. The texts and emails can show that there was an agreement between your spouse and the other person that they committed adultery and were intent on continuing their relationship.  

Will It Affect Alimony or Custody?

You may believe that you cannot pursue alimony if you are unfaithful to your spouse. In Alabama, infidelity is not an absolute bar to receiving alimony. A judge would, however, be far less likely to order alimony if there is evidence to suggest that the affair was what ended the marriage. Additionally, adultery could indirectly impact how your assets get divided. For example, consider the spouse who takes money out of a jointly-owned bank account (a marital asset) and purchases gifts for the person they are having an affair with. This is a situation where an extra-marital affair could indirectly impact the division of assets. 

The same line of thought applies to custody cases. As in any decision involving a child, the court will act in the child’s best interest. Although adultery does not make you an unfit parent, the child could have been indirectly subjected to or impacted by the affair. Another way to look at it is that committing adultery isn’t the factor in child custody cases, but it is a factor. Depending on the details of your specific circumstances, it is possible that the parent’s actions were not in their child’s best interests. The initial act may have resulted in unintended consequences. 

How Do I Prove My Spouse Cheated?

Now that you have a basic understanding of what is at stake, we want to answer the question of what you should do if you suspect your spouse of cheating. Before elaborating, here is something you should refrain from doing: confront your spouse. Instead of telling your spouse that you suspect something, contact an attorney. They will guide you through how to proceed correctly. They may advise hiring a private investigator to help attain the proof you need of the extra-marital affair. When you work with Empowered Family Law, we can refer to one we trust and have worked with. 

Another reason you should consult with an attorney is that you may have the opportunity to gather some information yourself. As critical as some of the following documents may be, we highly recommend you consult legal counsel before compiling them.

  • Phone records
  • Credit card statements
  • Cell phone bills
  • Emails
  • Texts

If you suspect your spouse is having an affair and you are deciding whether to dissolve your marriage, take the first appropriate step by contacting our office and scheduling a consultation. After we learn more about you and your situation, we can advise you on how to proceed. 

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Empowered Family Law, PC

With Empowered Family Law, you get an advocate who sees difficulties as opportunities for growth and emphasizes healing and problem-solving no matter how challenging your case.

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