GREAT NECK, NY (WiredPRNews.com) –Is cheating a new epidemic? Are more ‘starstruck’ cheaters imitating celebs? It seems not a week goes by without the news of a married celebrity or public figure committing adultery, the most recent spouses of these alleged adulterers being Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and Kate Winslet.
According to Great Neck Family Law attorney Jacqueline Harounian, “There is an increased trend in the NY Metro area and Long Island cases where cheating spouses are ‘getting busted’ for online infidelity. Moreover, the news cycle and social internet boom is revealing and spreading this information faster than ever before, making it easier to get caught and easier to prove in Court. With the advent of cell phones, email accounts and social networking sites, there is a plethora of evidence available that a spouse is engaging in another relationship. All of these mediums leave a technological ‘paper trail’ that can be easily found and used as evidence”.
Firm Founder and Sr. Partner Jerome Wisselman adds, “Thanks to these omnipresent technologies, virtually every matrimonial and custody trial features the submission of evidence from these sources. The evidence can be used to portray the other party in a very damaging light. Sometimes the evidence can make or break the case. If a spouse is cheating, chances are that evidence can be found on the cell phone bill or online email account.
Increasingly, ‘Facebook evidence’ is one of the first clues that the marriage is in trouble. Many married people secretly spend time on Match.com and JDate, looking for new friends and relationships. Other social networking sites such as “Classmates.com” and “LinkedIn” have tested marriages by causing parties to reunite and seek out friendships with former classmates and coworkers. Text messages, e-mails sent and received, and the hard drives of computers can be subject to subpoena and disclosure rules by the Court. Social host websites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter all leave a trail of technology evidence. People do not realize the evidence is stored there and it can be found months and even years later. Forensic experts can evaluate GPS tracking devices after the fact to disprove a party’s testimony about their whereabouts”.
Ms. Harounian explains, “We recently had a Long Island man come to our office because he just discovered that his wife had changed her Facebook status from ‘married’ to ‘looking’. He was suspicious about her faithfulness during their marriage but was somewhat in denial until he saw this changed Facebook status staring at him. He also noticed that his photos had been removed from his wife’s Facebook. At that point, he realized it was time to consult with an attorney”.
In a custody case, “[i]f a person is prone to sending impulsive emails and texts, ranting and raving at the other parent, third parties, or their own child, they run the risk of losing custody.” Family Law attorney Jacqueline Harounian goes on to say “The evidence can include text messages, photos and negative emails. Also potentially harmful are blog postings, video and voice mail recordings.” (a la the highly publicized voice mail message Alec Baldwin left for his daughter).
In divorce cases in New York, adultery is among the grounds for divorce needed to commence an action. In other states, where grounds for divorce are not required, cheating is categorized as ‘marital fault’. According to attorney Jacqueline Harounian, “Marital fault is not a factor in the court’s determination of custody issues or financial issues in most states, including New York. However, infidelity can still play a huge role in the matter. The wronged spouse may feel intense anger and spite at being cheated upon. Unresolved anger quickly leads to a breakdown in communication, and often, causes parties to litigate their divorces, rather than attempt to mediate a resolution.”
Victims of infidelity often have a strong emotional and psychological need for actual proof of the cheating. Cheaters are known to deny infidelity in the absence of actual proof. In years past, wronged spouses would hire private investigators to do surveillance on the cheaters, so that they would have certainty that their spouse was having an extramarital relationship.
Today, proof of cheating is only a few clicks away.
The law firm of Wisselman, Harounian and Associates, P.C. was established in 1976 and is dedicated to serving Long Island, Queens and Metro New York clients and the community on legal matters that arise during the course of raising a family and growing a business. It is the firm’s purpose to help protect clients’ legal interests throughout the many phases of their family lives. This can include handling matrimonial or family law concerns, buying or selling a home, running a business, and estate planning. Founder and senior law partner Jerome A. Wisselman is a 2009 Super Lawyer, an honor bestowed on only 5% of attorneys in the Metro New York area. See www.lawjaw.com for more information about our attorneys and our law firm.
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