What was once considered fringe is now a full-fledged industry worth over $2 billion dollars. Dating apps like Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble, Hinge, and Coffee Meets Bagel have become a commonplace tool for those looking to find love.
They connect individuals to dozens of potential love interests to foster connections that otherwise may not have been made within the confines of everyday life. While the benefits of online dating are numerous, there are also downsides to the ease of access offered.
Online dating apps can foster choice overload, addiction, and make committing infidelity much easier. An uncommitted spouse could very easily download a dating app and gain instant access to a community of potential people to commit adultery with. Cheating on dating apps is an increasingly common cause of divorce.
If you’re in the midst of a contentious divorce and cheating was involved, you may be wondering what kind of evidence you can use against your spouse or what kind of evidence your spouse can use against you. The admittance of text messages and emails as evidence is now common in divorce cases, but what about dating apps? Can evidence from dating profiles be used as well?
Can Dating Profiles Be Used as Evidence in Divorce?
In short, dating profiles can be used as evidence in court, but there are certain requirements that must be met for the evidence to be admissible. In general, evidence is admissible in divorce court if it is relevant to the case and not confusing, misleading, overly prejudicial, superfluous, or a waste of time.
In terms of relevancy, evidence is considered relevant if it makes a material fact more or less probable than it would be without evidence. Of course, it must also be important to the case to determine if that fact is true or not.
In addition to being relevant, evidence must also be obtained legally and the party asking to admit a certain piece of evidence must be able to authenticate it (establish that the evidence is not fake or forged). If the evidence was obtained unlawfully or it is proven to be fake, it will not be admissible in court.
By this token, dating app profile evidence can be admitted to the court during a divorce if the evidence is lawfully obtained, relevant to the case, and can be authenticated.
On the matter of relevancy, a spouse could argue that dating profile evidence is relevant if accusations of adultery are made. On the other hand, a spouse accused of adultery could argue that dating profile evidence is irrelevant if the dating profile was created after separation, therefore having no bearing on the divorce.
It’s important to note that adultery is not necessarily considered materially relevant to a divorce case in no-fault divorce states. An affair would be considered materially relevant in a no-fault state if marital property was wasted in support of an affair. True no-fault divorce states include:
If dating profile evidence comes from friends or family members who screenshot the profile or any match messages from their own dating profiles, the evidence would be considered legally obtained. However, if you snuck onto your spouse’s phone without permission, any resulting evidence would not be admissible.
Last but not least is the matter of authenticity. Because screenshots don’t contain EXIF data, it can be hard to determine if a screenshot is real or photoshopped. A party will have to submit circumstantial evidence that would allow a reasonable judge to conclude the dating profile is real. If a spouse believes someone else is using their photos on a dating profile they did not create or that the screenshots aren’t real, they may be able to successfully defend against the admittance of fake and prejudicial evidence.
Dating App Activity Can Be Tracked
If you suspect your spouse has been cheating on a dating app, but haven’t been able to prove it, or you’ve been cheating on a dating app and aren’t sure if your exploits can be tracked, it’s important to know that there are ways to determine if someone is using a dating app.
Apps like cheaterbuster will scan through Tinder to determine if your spouse has a profile. With the input of name, age, and geographic location, anyone can be found in a matter of seconds if they’ve been using the app. Buzz Humble does the same thing for Bumble and there are many other apps for finding a cheater on other various dating apps. The use of these apps can verify whether or not a profile exists so you can set out to obtain evidence.
Using Dating Profiles as Evidence in a Divorce Case
If you’d like to use your spouse’s dating profile as evidence in divorce court, it’s best to work with your divorce lawyer to obtain the evidence. Again, if you use sneaky or suspicious methods to capture dating profile evidence in a way that violates your spouse’s rights, it will be omitted in a court of law. Your lawyer can help you obtain online or electronic information via a subpoena. With legally obtained dating profile evidence, you can prove your spouse committed adultery.
This article originally appeared on DivorceMag.com