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How to Catch a Cheating Spouse


When spouses think about investigating their spouse, they often think about hiring a private investigator who will catch the cheating spouse, then the judge will rule in their favor, and they will get most of the assets. That’s not how divorce works.  Worse yet, cheating does not impact a divorce as much as most spouses think it will.

The Impact of Cheating in a Divorce Case 

A hurt spouse often thinks that proving the affair will create emotional healing; maybe some closure.

When it comes to property division or an award of alimony or spousal support, the judge will review the issue of fault. In some situations, the judge may take the affair into consideration when awarding custody or parenting time.

But, and this is a big issue, fault is only one of many issues when deciding property division and alimony. Only a parent’s actions that impact the child will affect child custody.

Another issue is how the affair affected the relationship.  If you never knew there was an affair and you only found out after separation, then arguably, the affair had less of an impact on the deterioration of your marriage.

While your divorce is ongoing, you will need to investigate your and your spouse’s assets and debts, the option of alimony, and your ability to pursue child custody. These investigations (normally part of the discovery process) are necessary and not optional if you are not able to settle your case.

Hiring a Private Investigator 

The most effective way to investigate an affair or adultery is to hire a private investigator.  If you want to explore evidence of an affair, you will need to pay for a private investigator’s time to investigate, write a report, and eventually provide expert testimony at trial. Those fees can be significant.  

If you and your spouse have limited income from which to pay support, and limited assets to divide, then an investigation regarding an affair has little benefit, and such an investigation will only satisfy your angry feelings. Most spouses remain emotionally hurt regardless of the proof.

If you are going through a contentious divorce that benefits from testimony and evidence of an affair, you and your attorney’s first course of action is to thoroughly investigate your spouse’s assets and debts. Only if you are willing to spend the time and fees to ensure complete financial records should you consider spending the extra fees on exploring an affair.

When Should You Contact a Grand Rapids Divorce Lawyer

If you think that your spouse is having an affair, your first step should be to meet with one of our attorneys to prepare in case of a divorce.  Meeting with an attorney does not mean that you are going to file for divorce. Rather, if you are considering marriage counseling, we encourage you to do so before filing for divorce. If you have any questions about divorce, contact our Grand Rapids divorce lawyers at 616-285-0808.