Currently, divorce law requires, at a bare minimum, physical contact of a sexual nature in order to satisfy the definition of adultery.However, technology is rapidly evolving that will soon make it possible for people who are in two separate locations to physically stimulate each other.What happens then when, in addition to an innocent spouse showing the judge proof that his offending spouse had an online sexual relationship with another person, he is also able to prove that spouse used devices that allowed her to give and receive physical sexual stimulation with that person, even though they weren't actually in the same state, let alone the same room?Even using the current definition of adultery, which requires some type of sexual intercourse, it seems that the future of sex tech will meet this requirement and a spouse will be susceptible to a finding of adultery based on activities engaged in with a person he has never even been in the same room with.When it comes to pulling the trigger on divorce, will it even matter that your spouse has been caught red handed engaging in online infidelity? For one thing, all 50 states have enacted no-fault options, which allow you to get a divorce without proving that your spouse engaged in adultery or some other type of marital misconduct that caused your marriage.Instead, generally one spouse simply needs to allege that there are irreconcilable differences or that the partners have become incompatible and that there's no hope for the marriage.
However, while your digital deviance may not constitute sex in the eyes of family court judges for purposes of proving adultery, many states allow and even require judges to consider marital misconduct or wrongdoing when awarding spousal support or property division.
A far less common example would be online infidelity that was so egregious that it caused emotional detriment to the innocent spouse that has impacted his or her ability to support himself—in other words, if an innocent spouse is so emotionally devastated that he or she is unable to work and needs therapy to recover.
However, not all courts require the innocent spouse to prove that his or her spouse's online infidelity caused actual financial detriment or resulted in the dissipation of marital funds.
The misconduct must generally impact the innocent spouse financially in order to be considered in property division.
Among the most common ways for a spouse to show economic detriment include the cheating spouse spending money on gifts and other activities for the object of his affection and paying for access to paid websites such as live web cams and chat lines.