Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.

- Denis Waitley

Family Law and Estate Planning Blog

Spouses with Fondness for Online Flirting May Rue Act If Marriage Ends in Divorce

A famous purveyor of gemstones and the author of the James Bond spy novels would remind us that diamonds are forever, and that is as romantic a thought as it is geologically accurate. However, for couples whose romance is on the rocks, it is probably wise to remember that web postings are forever as well. In a bad situation, they can return to haunt a poster during divorce proceedings.

Lurid extramarital sexting and Facebook love missives do not fall under the legal definition of adultery in the United States. However, they do leave a decidedly permanent cyber trail that is increasingly turning up in family law cases. Attorneys for the opposing half of a crumbling union are now prepared to present those trails as evidence in court.

In addition, when evidence of cyber sex or other online dalliances crop up during divorce cases in which the splitting couple have children, photographs and messages can be presented in U.S. courts as part of a narrative to prove that the spouse with a fondness for flirting online has been a less-than-attentive parent. The consequences of such an argument could be pivotal in any custody battle.

Along the same lines, if it is proven that the spouse who had been posting amorous messages and photographs was also providing the object of their desire with gifts, the image can buttress a scenario of a parent who has lavished money as well as lust upon a paramour — to the financial detriment of his or her family.

If the marital union heads for divorce court, those who choose to post online messages and photographs to an outside love interest may very well wish they had refrained from such rock-hard, stone-cold gestures.