How to legally catch a cheating spouse

In some states, spouses can still pursue a "fault divorce," where one spouse blames the other for the split and identifies specific conduct that caused the breakup.

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Although they vary by state, the most common fault grounds are adultery, abuse, desertion, and incarceration. If you live in a state that allows courts to consider adultery in a divorce, you should think carefully about whether pursuing a fault-based divorce makes sense. Fault divorces are often more stressful and more expensive than their no-fault counterparts. Choosing a no-fault divorce should reduce both conflict and expenses.

No one enjoys airing their dirty laundry, and it's even worse when it's done in a public courthouse setting. If you pursue a fault divorce against your spouse, be prepared for some backlash. And proving that an affair took place will certainly cost more: It will require additional time and expenses in attorney's fees, private investigator's fees , and court costs.

A fault-based divorce might not be worth it in the end.

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On the other hand, you may have valid reasons for filing a fault-based divorce, particularly if you live in a state that allows courts to consider adultery as a factor when deciding alimony or property division. Or, if you live in a state that only offers no-fault divorce based on a lengthy separation, you may not want to wait it out.

For example, in Louisiana, divorcing couples with children must live apart for at least one year before they can obtain a no-fault divorce.

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Before you file, you should speak with a family law attorney, who can help you understand your state's laws and how they might apply to your case. The problem with this is that there are a lot of risks involved in spying on a spouse.

In all reality, spying through illegal methods can actually land you in jail, or possibly just fined. Defining what laws apply to investigating your cheating spouse is tricky. For one thing, laws differ greatly from state to state and from country to country.

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In some places limit the possible actions you can take with a great number of detailed privacy laws. You could always investigate those laws before getting too heavily involved in any spying actions, but laws can be very difficult to interpret without any expertise.

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