We do initial consultation meetings every week with people who are not yet ready to hire a divorce attorney. Sometimes it's because they aren't quite sure they are ready to end their marriage, but they want to be fully informed on the process once they do make a decision. Sometimes they have been served papers by their spouse's attorney for a divorce they didn't see coming and they are "attorney shopping" to see which firm they will hire to represent them. But at least once a week, we'll consult with someone who believes their spouse may be having an affair and they've come to us to talk through their suspicions and learn how to protect themselves (and their children) if their hunch proves to be correct. Here are just a few of the things we tell them to look for:
1. Privacy becomes a top priority for them.
If you and your spouse once shared everything together and always allowed free access to all aspects of your individual lives, and then one day, your spouse starts acting secretive about certain things, like their cell phone, their email account, or their vehicle, it could be a sign they are trying to hide another relationship. Don't be too quick to jump to conclusions, however, if it happens to be the month before your birthday or another major holiday - maybe he/she is just trying to hide a surprise gift. But if the pattern of being very private or even secretive continues, you may have reason to worry.
2. Work schedules suddenly change.
For most of your marriage, your spouse has worked a traditional 8:00 to 5:00 schedule, but suddenly six months ago, your husband announced that he needs to be at work at 7:00 AM and will typically work well past 5:00 PM every evening. Should you be alarmed? If your husband is an accountant and it's the middle of tax season, maybe not. But, if there are no legitimate work projects with looming deadlines and none of your spouse's co-workers seem to have the same grueling schedule, something may be amiss.
3. Improvements in Physical Appearance.
It's fairly common for married couples to become comfortable in their relationship and allow their physical appearances to take a lower priority to the day-to-day obligations and duties of raising children and running a household, etc. However, if suddenly your spouse is dieting, getting a new hairstyle, or sporting a new perfume or cologne you've never heard of, it could be they are doing all of these things to attract the attention (or keep the attention) of someone new.
These signs, when taken individually, are not always indicative of an extramarital affair, but they are all signs we see over and over in the cases of adultery which come into our office. If you are seeing these signs, or any others, which lead you to believe your spouse may be seeing someone else outside of the marriage, it's important to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can outline your rights in such a fault-based divorce. There are several ways you need to work to protect yourself and also ways to gather the evidence you will need to prove your case which is important to discuss with an attorney even before a case is filed. Even if your suspicions are unfounded, arming yourself with information is never a bad idea.
The Stevens Firm, P.A. - Family Law Center has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout South Carolina for over two decades, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. We are well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact us at (864) 598-9172 to schedule an initial consultation.