December 16, 2009

Texting: The New Way to get Caught Cheating

Posted in Celebrity Divorce, Divorce tagged , at 12:38 am by demetriagraves

I’ve come across this phenomena in my Family Law practice as we move into the twenty first century. Some spouses are discovering that their partners are cheating by coming across incriminating text messages. Texting has even been described as the new lipstick on the collar, the classic telltale sign that one’s spouse has gone astray.

This problem has been highlighted in the media recently. Tiger Wood’s lovers are coming out of the woodwork showing steamy text messages from him that have then been published for all to see. One of his alleged mistresses is even claiming that Tiger was texting other lovers while he was in bed with her.

Prior to Tiger some politicians have also been caught with their pants down as a result of text messages. Most notable of these was Kwane Kilpatrick, the former Detroit mayor, who had an affair with an aide and went to prison in 2008. He was found out because he used government-issued mobile phones and pagers. Mr. Kilpatrick lied under oath about having an affair with an aide, but his text messages revealed the truth. Also Nevada’s governor, Jim Gibbons, was accused last spring by his wife in divorce documents of sending more than 800 text messages to a mistress in 2007. He contended that the woman was a friend, but he paid the state $130 for the messages from his phone. Also Senator John Ensign of Nevada has had an affair with a former employee confirmed by text messages.

People naively think that text messages are totally private, whereas everything digital leaves a footprint. The many wireless carriers keep messages for a long period after they are sent. And a court can request and get copies, if copies exist. Most importantly, the person receiving the text may preserve the message for their own purposes. As Tiger Woods has learned now, his lovers are using his messages to secure their fifteen minutes of fame.

It’s expected that as younger cell phone users, who are more likely to text than talk, get married this will happen more often. Text messages now outnumber mobile voice calls three to one. Monthly messages sent or received jumped to an average of 584 PER PERSON in the quarter ending in September, a 60 percent increase from a year earlier.

At the root of the issue is privacy — or rather the increasing lack of it in our show-and-tell digital culture. Text messages are considered private, much as telephone calls are. But if a cheating spouse’s cell phone is part of a family calling plan or regularly left unlocked and unattended on the dinner table or night stand, it is conceivable that a partner who suspects infidelity could make a case for sifting through the in-box.

But, in the end, text messages are just the latest tool in the arsenal to catch cheating spouses. Telephone records, emails and charge card receipts have long provided clues to affairs. Even Metro-card passes provide a time stamped trail of where someone has been. It is only time until some spouse finds his significant other “tagged” in an embrace or some other compromising position on someone’s Facebook page.

In the end, the best way to ensure that you do not get caught in an extra marital affair is not to have one!

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