Credit card receipts for hotel rooms, dinners, gifts, and trips are the traditional paper trail of an unfaithful spouse or even a partner.
Now electronic gadgets, trackers and dating apps are providing new clues that someone's cheating on you. Joining us with more details is top family law attorney, Christopher C. Melcher of top family law firm Walzer Melcher.
How common are dating apps being used when it comes to find out if there's something going on in a relationship?
Well, the most popular app is Tinder and they have 50 million active users. They claim 20 billion hookups or matches been made. So this is being actively used mostly by people in their twenties and thirties for casual encounters, not to find their soulmates.
How many of these apps are then people looking to have an affair?
They did a survey of the Tinder users, only 54% reported that they were single. The rest are looking for somebody else to have an affair with. And one third, surprisingly, of those users, were married. Most of these people on there are already in a relationship.
How easy is it to get caught?
It's fairly easy because our locations are being obviously tracked by so many apps and we're sharing that location information with our partners. So by consent, we're allowing our partners to see where we are at any particular moment. It’s not easy to lie about our location.
Yeah, we've heard all kinds of stories about how people get caught cheating. We even always talk about that one story of someone running a red light and they get the bill sent- the ticket goes home and you see their face.
And the Fitbit that caught somebody.
And the person sitting next to them is not maybe their spouse. There's many different ways. What are some of the things because of technology that are catching people in the act?
One way has been health and fitness apps. So these are tracking our heart rate and activity. We're also sharing that with our spouses as competition to see who's most healthy.
That's what happened with Fitbit app. You're right.
Why is your heart racing?
Well, some... a wife found her husband's heart rate went up in the middle of the night.
At three in the morning.
While he was out of town. So that's pretty hard to explain. The other thing is family sharing with our devices. So we can view content across several devices and we share that with our spouses, family members. But now if we're having communications with a paramour, that's also being shared and now coming up on somebody else's screen like a spouse or child. Technology is really profoundly out there and it's very hard to lie and cover our tracks.
The one I hear I every now and then and this has got to be just bad luck. But when they're doing the Google earth shots, your car is parked in front of somebody where it shouldn't be parked kind of thing. And by chance somebody is looking going, "Oh, why was your car parked in front of... ?" Yeah.
So can cheaters be found on the dating app? Let's say if they use a fake name if you will.
Yeah. Of course they're going to use a fake name and but their picture can be matched to that dating profile. The technology's there. The dating apps have pushed back against that saying that their user data can't be scraped or used in that matter. But the technology is absolutely out there and is developing. So one day we'll be able to, I think match those photos to the thing. So there's really no way of hiding anymore.
What can a spouse do if they suspect cheating? Get their phone while they're taking a shower? Cause you don't want to be snooping around and...
Yeah, we have to be discreet about it, but doorbell cams that many people have or alarm systems, that's going to track when doors are opened and closed. We'll have video of somebody coming in. So that's one way of checking on somebody to see like wow, if they were out of town, were there any visitors there going on? So that's one way of checking.
How does cheating impact a divorce case particularly here in the state of California?
Well, here it's not legally relevant. If somebody is having an affair, the judge doesn't care about it. We're in a no-fault state, so it doesn't come in. Just some person says, "Hey, I want out of this marriage," and that's good enough for the court. The problem though is is that this is such a serious breach of trust, and so if somebody's broken that trust in that relationship, how can the spouses then make an agreement to divorce? It's almost impossible. So it really comes into being a nasty, long, expensive divorce because they cheated.
Christopher C. Melcher, top family law attorney for the firm Walzer Melcher in Woodland Hills.
For more information, visit: walzermelcher.com
Aired on 1/2/20
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