Discovering your spouse is cheating is emotionally devastating. It feels like you have been hit by a Mack truck. You feel a wide range of intense emotions-shock, anger, betrayal, revenge and disgust. This is normal. But reacting this way may backfire legally.
Meet with a divorce lawyer right now before you do anything. You need to think clearly and come up with an action plan and strategies with your lawyer to maximize your legal advantage. What you tell your lawyer is confidential. Don’t tell your spouse you know anything. Don’t tell any friends, relatives, or anyone because what you say may get back to your spouse. Never tell anything to your kids. All this could be self-destructive. So stay calm and act normally.
Information is power. Get information. Consider hiring a private investigator. Go on line for a public records search. Gather documents. Get pictures, text messages, emails, receipts, cards, notes, calendars, diaries, bank statements, credit card statements, travel records, etc. Get phone records for calls made and received, text messages, cell phone tower information. Go through your spouse’ social media.
Talk to your lawyer to make sure you get information and documents legally and that you are not breaking any laws. Do not break into computers or phones, spyware, install GPS tracking devices, or wiretaps. Talk to your lawyer about legal methods to obtain information and documents. Revenge, extortion, and threats to ruin your spouse can put you in trouble.
Keep a detailed historical and current daily diary writing down everything your spouse has been doing and currently is doing, like the dates and times he or she was out of the house, where he/she was, what he/she told to you, excuses, lies, etc. Save all text messages and emails and any document that your spouse created. Make sure all information and documents are backed up on the cloud in case you lose your computer or cell phone and the evidence disappears.
Talk to your lawyer about a legal concept called condonation. This is when you disregard or tacit approve your spouses’ adultery, especially by treating your spouse as if nothing happened. This can work against you legally.
Your spouses’ affair can have a negative legal effect legally in court and can decrease his/her leverage in negotiating. It can affect child custody, alimony, and division of property. In Virginia, adultery is a crime and also grounds for divorce. It can lead to losing jobs, disciplinary action, military discharge, and loss of security clearances.
Bottom line: Be smart, calm and strategic. Temper your anger. See a divorce lawyer and form a plan of action!