Dating and courtships have changed throughout the decades. We’ve moved from properly chaperoned get-togethers with reputable peers to swiping strangers on a dating app. The various dating apps have become commonplace and are now considered mainstream and socially acceptable. Everybody is swiping to connect.
Dating apps provide us with an almost endless choice of potential partners – either for the night or for life. Buying dinner has become a mere afterthought.
This abundance of potential dates can lead to some bad choices. What one sees isn’t always what one gets. Cheating and misleading are common.
Evidence in Divorce Cases
Presenting the court with pictures of partners in a compromising position is an old tradition. A picture is, after all, worth a thousand words. In our modern era, pictures are joined by phone records, text messages, and emails, all evidence of a cheater. These digital bits of evidence in divorce cases are now being joined by a partner’s dating profile on a dating app. Is this admissible as evidence?
Dating Apps As Evidence
Courts will accept dating apps as evidence in a divorce case provided the evidence is relevant and not misleading. Of course, it has to be properly authenticated to come in as evidence. But generally speaking, it can be used to back up a material fact placed into evidence relevant to the divorce. And such dating app evidence needs to be obtained legally and proven genuine instead of forged – in other words, it must be proven authentic.
When it comes to relevance, a dating app can back up accusations of infidelity. However, the accused can make a counterargument that the app was created after the couple separated and was irrelevant to the decision to split up. In no-fault divorce states like Florida, adultery can become relevant if marital funds were spent on the tryst (for example, if common funds were used for one spouse’s weekend getaway).
Another legal means of introducing a dating app in a divorce case is if the profile was discovered by family or mutual friends. Conversely, breaking into your partner’s phone and snooping will not produce what is considered legal evidence, regardless of the facts.
Authentic or Not
Much of modern digital life involves photoshopping. A dating profile submitted as evidence can be inauthentic. Each party would have to present as much evidence as exists to prove his or her case for fake vs. authentic.
Dating App Activity Is Not Private
Some apps can track other apps. The app “cheaterbuster” can track activity on Tinder and find your partner’s profile, if it exists. The app “Buzz Humble” will track profiles on Bumble.
Since you want to obtain any incriminating evidence legally, it is best to work with an attorney. If you do it on your own and inadvertently violate your partner’s rights, it cannot be admitted in court. For example, guessing your spouse’s computer password correctly and snooping will not produce evidence admissible in court. An attorney can help get the necessary information legally and by subpoena or through the discovery process. If there is an actual dating profile, it can be presented to the court as proof of infidelity.
Dating While Divorcing
There are no laws against dating while separated and going through the divorce process. It’s a tricky situation and may be frowned upon, but using a dating app to find new companionship is not illegal or proof of any wrongdoing.
However, legal or not, it may not be the smartest move to have a dating profile before the divorce is finalized. Some courts may interpret such a move as adultery. During the divorce process, matters such as child custody need to be determined. If you have a dating profile, your spouse’s attorney may well hold that against you to prove your lack of fitness as a parent. Were you honest in your profile and list your exact weight and age? Did you inflate your education? These may be normal dating app moves, but if caught, a good attorney can brand you a liar and a person who may be a bad influence on his or her children.
It may be normal for people to exaggerate their qualities on a profile. It is also normal for an attorney to use that against you and highlight a “lack of trustworthy character.”
If you are lonely, you should be able to date while undergoing a divorce, a process that sometimes takes years. However, creating a public dating profile may backfire, as it can be used against you in court. It may be difficult, but a profile on a dating app should optimally wait until the divorce papers are signed and filed. It really depends on your specific situation.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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