Divorce: How do you prove your spouse’s infidelity?
Is your spouse cheating on you? You want a divorce, but he or she disagrees and denies being unfaithful? You can initiate divorce proceedings for fault! However, you’ll need to bring evidence of this adultery before the judge.
What evidence is admissible to prove your spouse’s infidelity?
What is adultery or infidelity under French law?
Is your spouse cheating on you? You can apply for a divorce for fault if you can prove that your spouse has committed acts constituting a serious or repeated breach of the duties and obligations of marriage (fidelity, help and assistance) and that these acts make it intolerable to continue living together.
Adultery is a violation of the reciprocal duty of fidelity between spouses during marriage. Does your partner go out with other people without having sexual relations with them? Does he or she exchange ambiguous e-mails with acquaintances? At what point does the judge consider that your spouse is cheating on you, and can pronounce a divorce for fault?
Of course, adultery is grounds for divorce for fault if your spouse has consummated the sexual union with someone other than you. However, simple unfaithful behavior without proven sexual relations may constitute grounds for divorce.
If your spouse maintains equivocal relations with another person, the judge may consider this behavior to be abusive, even if adultery has not really been established, and pronounce a divorce for fault to the exclusive fault of your spouse.
There are many different forms of adultery, and your spouse may be in breach of his or her obligation of fidelity if he or she has occasional relations with another person, if he or she has installed a concubine close to your home, or if he or she expresses to acquaintances that he or she shares his or her life with someone other than you.
When must adultery be committed? It must have taken place between the date of celebration of the marriage and the date of its dissolution.
I have proof that my spouse is unfaithful, but is this evidence admissible before a judge?
You have text messages from a lover, a hidden camera video, a pocket call, a letter, an e-mail, a photo published on Facebook, a subscription to a dating site, a phone tap… proving that your spouse is unfaithful. How do you know if this evidence is admissible before a judge?
The legal framework for proving infidelity is very simple: by cheating on you, your spouse commits a marital offence. Marital offences fall within the realm of private life, so there will be no invasion of your spouse’s privacy if you produce all the evidence proving his or her infidelity. In principle, any evidence of your spouse’s infidelity will be admissible before the judge.
However, there is a limit to this freedom of proof! The judge will disregard any evidence you may have obtained by fraud or violence. It’s up to your spouse to prove that the evidence was obtained by fraud or violence.
How can I prove my spouse’s infidelity?
- Go through his/her text messages, e-mails and letters
Look at the messages received from your partner’s cell phone, check his/her voicemail, connect to his/her e-mail address, and take screenshots or ask for a bailiff’s report. The judge will receive these means of proof.
The risk with this technique is fraud! Your spouse will try to get rid of this evidence by claiming that you obtained the information by fraud, i.e. by physically stealing his or her phone or computer.
To counter this argument, put together a counter-argument, showing with photos that your spouse’s phone is often left on the living room table, or that they use their computer in your home, thus proving that you had free access to this information.
- Find photos on your partner’s computer, mobile phone or cloud
Look for photos of extra-marital encounters.
- Search his/her calendar, diary
Find inconsistencies in his/her schedule, or bring back entries from a diary. These elements can constitute proof of infidelity.
- Hire a private investigator
The judge will accept a private detective’s report as proof of infidelity.
- A bailiff’s report of adultery.
Bailiff’s reports are admissible, and are a formidable form of proof. You will need to obtain the authorization of the president of the “Tribunal de Grande Instance”, who will be the Family Court Judge if the report is to be drawn up outside the marital home.
To obtain the judge’s authorization, you’ll need to provide evidence of infidelity on the part of your spouse.
- Scour Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat
If you find photos or messages on social networks that prove your partner’s infidelity, take a screenshot and quickly contact a bailiff, who will draw up a report on the content found.
- Take a look at dating sites
Check the most popular dating sites to see if your partner is registered. Registration on a dating site can constitute prima facie evidence of adultery.
- Biological proof: you are not the father of your children.
You can prove your wife’s infidelity by producing a blood comparison report showing that the children conceived during the marriage were not born of you.
- Statements from your family and friends
Statements from people who had knowledge of the infidelity are admissible. However, statements from all direct descendants, whether or not they are related to your spouse, are not admissible. Children or grandchildren cannot testify to your spouse’s infidelity.
You know for a fact that your spouse is cheating on you and he or she denies it? Try to gather as much evidence as possible, while remaining cautious and within the law. If you have an idea for proving your spouse’s infidelity, don’t hesitate to contact an AGN network lawyer in your area to find out whether this piece of evidence is legal, and whether it will be admissible in court?