Is Your Spouse Cheating? Read this Before You Start Spying

It may be just a suspicion, or you may have actually seen or heard something that revealed your spouse is cheating. Maybe this knowledge is the last straw in your relationship and now you wantto get divorced. Either way, it may seem like a good idea to get concrete evidence of your spouse’s infidelity. Not so fast.
With today’s technology, you have many tools at your fingertips. Apps can forward emails and texts and recover deleted messages. A GPS can track your spouse’s whereabouts. Online services can uncover hidden profiles, and concealed cameras can catch your spouse red-handed on the sly. However, many spying approaches are illegal, inadmissible in court, and may even be grounds for your spouse to take legal action against you.Will proof of infidelity even help your case?
Before taking matters into your own hands to catch your spouse cheating, ask yourself these two questions: Is it legal to spy that way in my state? If I decide to get divorced, will having evidence help my case, or is it unnecessary?
Because of the complexities involved filing for divorce under the grounds of adultery – and the limited benefits – you may be better off filing under what’s known as “no-fault” provisions (even though, yes, there was technically fault that led to the marriage ending).
“Several states have a no-fault option divorce,” said Thomas J. Petrelli, Jr., founding partner of Petrelli Previtera, a family law firm with locations nationwide. “In other words, you do not need to prove infidelity to file for divorce. So, doing your own sleuthing may cause unnecessary stress when you could just get started.”
Of course, your spouse may not agree to the divorce. Still, you may not have to prove infidelity to move forward. Under Pennsylvania law, for example, the spouse who wants to divorce can just go ahead and file the paperwork after living separately for one year. Other states have similar laws that allow you to divorce your cheating spouse if you want to without digging for proof of the infidelity.
If you want to divorce based on infidelity
If you file for a fault divorce on the grounds of adultery, mere accusations are not enough. Your state has its own standard for proving that your spouse was unfaithful. In Pennsylvania, if your spouse does not admit to the affair, you will need to attend a hearing to present evidence such as dates and places associated with your spouse’s cheating. Under New Jersey law, you will need to name the affair participant, and you may even need to include them in the divorce complaint.So, if a fault divorce based on infidelity is the way to go, how do you get your hands on the information you need? Before taking matters into your own hands, check the laws in your state regarding use of the following to gather evidence of your spouse’s cheating:
Social media
Electronic communications such as recorded phone conversations or text messages
Electronic evidence on a shared computer or in an email account
Information discovered by a private investigator
Silent video surveillance or hidden devices
GPS tracking systems on a private vehicle
“I cannot stress enough how important it is to proceed according to the law if you’re trying to catch your spouse cheating,” Petrelli said. “The trouble and legal ramifications of illegal spying is something to avoid.”
The best thing to do if your spouse cheated and you’re considering divorce is to speak confidentially with an experienced divorce lawyer, who can make recommendations so you proceed within the confines of your state’s law. He or she may suggest hiring a private investigator, who will know the surveillance systems that are legal in your area.
Violating the law by spying will not only waste your time and money; you will also face criminal and civil liabilities – not to mention the inevitable snicker from your spouse. So, before taking action, plan ahead and speak with a professional so you know what is allowed to win the battle. 

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