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Does an Online Relationship Count as Cheating?


Recently, an online cheating scandal involving Adam Levine made headlines nationwide. According to Women’s Health, a magazine featuring news for and about women, Levine has been accused of exchanging flirtatious private messages with multiple women on Instagram. Levine is married to and shares two children with supermodel Behati Prinsloo (who is currently pregnant with the couple’s third child).

At least, one of the women that Levine is accused of exchanging messages with claims that the alleged affair wasn’t limited to online messaging. The woman claims that she and Levine had a physical affair as well. However, Levine has denied that his relationship with any of the women went beyond exchanging messages on Instagram.

Is Exchanging Online Messages Cheating?

This is up for debate and honestly depends on the circumstances. Some couples have open relationships and don’t consider anything cheating as long as their spouse seeks their approval before pursuing extramarital relationships. In other instances, there are couples who don’t have open relationships, but they don’t consider flirting to be cheating. However, there are plenty of situations where married couples would absolutely consider exchanging flirty private online messages with someone else a violation of their marriage vows.

How Does Adultery Impact Divorce in California?

California is a no-fault divorce state. This means that things such as adultery don’t have much impact on the legal aspects of a couple’s divorce unless the affair involved the couple’s marital finances or property or hurt their children in a significant and/or material way. Examples of ways that adultery could impact divorce in California:

  • If money from a couple’s joint bank account was used to finance the affair in any way, including purchasing expensive gifts, paying for the other person’s housing, or providing the other person with a vehicle, it could impact property division and spousal support agreements.
  • If the person who a spouse is in an extramarital relationship with physically hurts the couple’s children (or puts them in danger) or is considered a danger to the couple’s kids, it could impact child custody and visitation decisions.

Considering divorce? Our legal team at Arnold Law Group, APC can help. Reach out to us online or give us a call at (559) 900-1263 or to schedule a confidential consultation with our experienced divorce lawyers in Fresno.

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