E-Mail, FaceBook, Chats used as affair evidence?

If I had reason to believe that my spouse was cheating on me, is there any way that info/e-mail/Facebook chats/FaceBook posts could be used as evidence? How would this type of data be recovered? Could it be?

I’d be more concerned with figuring out exactly what you’d need that evidence for.

In my state, electronic statements can be admitted into evidence in divorce proceedings, if properly authenticated. Depending on how well funded the litigation is, computers can be inspected/drives copied, etc through the discovery process.

Maybe so, but how do you recover information from a Facebook chat? They are not saved anywhere in a person’s profile, they just disappear as soon as you log out.

Also, e-mail is inaccessible unless the suspicious spouse has the password. How will divorce proceedings handle that?

You also need proof that the person sending the message is that person. I can log onto my significant other’s MySpace if I know the passworld and pretend to be anyone.

You’d have to establish that the conversations took place between the actual parties, otherwise a wife/husband could set each other up.

Can a defendant be required to give a password in either a criminal or civil proceeding? I know they can be required to turn over other documents.

Divorce proceedings, for example.

I guess what I’m trying to ask is this. If you and your spouse were headed for a divorce and you suspected that your spouse was cheating, would a judge be able to make him give access to e-mail/FaceBook accounts, etc. so that posts/e-mails could be examined for anything incriminating.

As someone else pointed out, though, it might be tough to prove who the actual author was.


A bunch of my customers use this product on my reccomendation, it is damn good software, it captures screenshots, every keystroke, every email, you name it. Its like being able to read someones mind. Over a couple years there have been 3 employees among my customers fired because of data collected via this software.

Alot of this type of thing is where your proof is things like cell phone numbers being exchanged or if SO claims to be working late etc, and you have chat logs showing he planned to meet the other person you may be able to spot/photograph them.

Generally speaking though, this kind of stuff is for your reference. Most states could care less if he was cheating on you or secretly pursuing a hobby in model railroading.

Keystroke logger.

Surely you don’t mean merely to sue for divorce – since to the best of my knowledge every state allows you to sue for divorce without cause – but rather to create the most advantageous settlement for yourself in a potential divorce.

In that case, you’re definitely going to want to go ahead and get an attorney and make sure that whatever means you use to accumulate evidence is going to be admissible.

Don’t know what state you live in but if you live in a “no fault” divorce state as I do, it does not matter a bit if your spouse has been cheating on you. It is not like suing for a broken contract. “Fault” divorces are only allowed in some states.


This is what I’ve seen as well. The Courts could care less what happened in your marriage; they are just out to see that you two split the stuff equally and fairly and be on with your lives.

Matters if you had a pre-nup (well, sometimes).

Not only that, but in some states (dare I say a plurality?) even if there is fault for a fault-based divorced, it won’t affect the property division and alimony analysis

We did away with some lilly-white conception regarding marriage about 30 years ago. As is noted immediately above, if you have a pre-nup then it may matter.

Many states require a period of separation before granting a no-fault divorce. The OP’s profile says she’s in St. Louis, and in Missouri, if the other spouse contests the divorce, the separation period is two years.

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. This is just anonymous chat.

Not necessarily.

Thanks, everyone. I was just curious, really. I have no reason to suspect anything, but just going through the process gets the wheels turning in unfortunate ways.