DIY Divorce Investigation of Spouse’s Adultery May Be Considered Cyber Stalking

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“My husband went behind my back about a month ago and talked to his dad about getting a dissolution (the only way I found out is by reading his email. Otherwise he was planning on keeping it a secret, until he served me with papers in approximately two weeks).

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

He was very demanding and controlling once it got out. He was very verbally and somewhat physically abusive. So with the advice from close family and friends, I left our home in Ohio and am now in Tennessee. I put up with two weeks (amount of time that passed from when I confronted him about his email and when I left) of a horrendous emotional rollercoaster and his controlling, abusive ways. A week after I left, I began checking his online activities. He had already created a new profile on Yahoo Personals and contacted several women (80 thus far). He’s begun his web of lies all over again, stating that he’s never done the online thing before and that he’s single. He changed his profile on November 9, 2005 for his Yahoo ID, stating he’s single, which leads me to believe that he’s paid for a subscription and his talking with women through Yahoo Messenger, and painting me (his wife) and his ex fiancee as the wrongdoers (to his family and friends also).

He told me to my face that the past year or so has been nothing but a sham, stating he only did the things he did because he saw how happy it made me. Now he claims that I’ve done nothing but try to change him, saying “she doesn’t love me for me and refuses to”. I don’t know who the heck he is! I thought I did, and I loved that man! And now he tells me it was all an act? What am I to do?! I don’t love the verbally and physically abusive husband, full of lies and deceit! Of course not, but I do love the man I dated, was engaged to, and married. I am not the first person he’s done this to. He did this to his ex fiancee and turned on her, painting her as the one at fault. He’s doing it to me now, and currently looking for the next unsuspecting woman in his game. He saw a psychologist for some years before he met me. And was on medications. But he got pissed because the psychologist told him how it was (saying he’s the one that has the issues and he needs to change because he’s hurting a lot of innocent people), so he stopped seeing her for a while and quit his meds altogether. And since then he ruined his relationship with his ex, and brought our marriage down also. And again, is currently looking for a new one.

Knowing how sex driven my husband can be at times, I have no doubt that he’s cheated on me by now, especially seeing as to how he was online back in June looking at profiles on! He’s contacted women because of the sexual content of their personals ad! I’m still wearing his wedding band, engagement ring, and his last name! He has a girl that he fell back on when he broke it off with his ex, and fell back on her again right before he met me, using her solely for sex. If only I had found out these things beforehand! But, I want to be the one to bring him down from his high tower. I’m the one currently going through pain and suffering because he’s a lying idiot! I’m the one that was suckered into marrying him, giving him my all! He wanted a dissolution (stating it would be more civil and he just wanted it over quickly so we could both go on with our lives) and wanted it kept between just the two of us. He is pissed at me because I informed my parents about it, stating it was none of their business. My husband was going to leave me, without warning, for no reason!! That was just a way of control for him. I was there in his house, seven hours away from family, and he just wanted me to go along with it. I want to be able to take all I can (but he worked that out beforehand, making sure everything was put in his name – everything). I do think I deserve it, my goodness, the man did nothing but lie to me for a year! But I don’t know how to go about proving his deception in court or if his online activities qualifies as cheating? I’m only 20, and totally uneducated when it comes to legal issues. Let me know what you think, please! (I just received the papers on Monday, November 7, 2005). And isn’t coming onto this site while married a criminal offense, i.e. fraud? He thinks he’s getting away with whatever he’s doing.”

I am going to let you know what I think, but you’re not going to like it.

First of all, nearly all, if not all, of the United States are what are called “no fault” states. That means that it really doesn’t matter whether he cheated on you or not. It used to be that it mattered because you had to prove fault – that somebody did somebody wrong – in order to get a divorce. But it just isn’t that way any more, and frankly the court couldn’t care less that he cheated on you. Sure, it hurts, and it’s wrong, but it’s not legally significant.

Secondly, none of his actions that you have described have been illegal. Immoral, perhaps, but not illegal.

However some of your actions could well rise to the level of criminal stalking. I’m concerned that you have so much information about his online activities, some of which you could only know by having accessed his accounts.

Look, you were taken in. Some would say that you went in with eyes wide open – he did this to his ex-fiancee, he’s been diagnosed by a psychologist as having these sorts of issue – and yet, you married him. But I understand how smooth-talking people like this can be, how good they can make you feel when they want to. When it’s good, it’s very very good, but when it’s bad, well, goodbye.

Thirdly, look at yourself. This lout not only took away time which you can never get back, and lied through his teeth to you, but right now, this very minute, the only person who is hurting, and who is wasting emotional energy, is you. And you’re letting him do that to you. You have given him power over your emotions and your emotional energy, and you are letting him do it right now, even though he has already moved on. He’s off chasing women, you’re sitting here feeling terrible and thinking about nothing but him.

So don’t give him that power. Why on earth would you want to spend one more second of your life thinking about him, let alone focusing all of that energy on him?

Walk away, and get on with a better life.

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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