Using a Cell Phone to Show That Your Former Spouse Is Cohabiting

Jan 24, 2014 | Updated Mar 26, 2014

Your former spouse is in a new relationship... hurray! Could there be wedding bells in the future? Maybe. But, if you're paying your ex alimony, there isn't much motivation to remarry (and give up your financial obligation to support the happy couple). In fact, there is every reason not to remarry, to deceptively carry on with the relationship, and to continue to take your money. This is right out of the proverbial post-Divorce Play Book: "Find someone new and deny, deny, deny...."

Terminating alimony based on allegations of cohabitation is complicated, multifaceted, and requires a showing of more than just living together. In order for cohabitation to be sufficient to reduce or terminate alimony, it must be coupled with some measurable economic and social interdependencies. Some of these are self-evident (joint bank accounts, sharing of bills, etc.), and some are inferential (mowing the lawn, housecleaning, watching the kids, etc.) While much of the documentation you will need may be obtained using private investigator surveillance, documenting months and months of overnights is usually cost-prohibitive. Enter, the cell phone.

Most cell phone users have their phones turned on and with them 24/7. Our phones are with us when we drive, where we shop, and yes, even while we sleep. So, what does this mean for someone who is trying to prove elements of a cohabitation claim? It means that by using the cell tower location data related to a particular phone device, you are able to demonstrate inferentially the location of the person associated with that specific phone device. Simply put, cell tower location data is the objective data that will show the proximal location of your ex's significant other during critical overnights for months and months and months. The logical conclusion from this evidence, namely, where the phone is located the person is located, is obvious.

Like it or not, nearly everything we do is recorded. While grocery shopping, the brands we've purchased are identified at the register before we exit the store, as coupons suddenly stream down to our smart phones. When we bank, where we eat, the medications we use ... all of the data associated is recorded. Cell phones are no different, and law enforcement officials have been leveraging this data in criminal cases for many years. In family law cases, cell tower location data is also now being used to support a critical element of an allegation of cohabitation in a more efficient, cost-effective manner. Because cell tower location data is being recorded in real-time, and because the data is stored for multiple years, it provides the ability for someone to look backwards in time and review a historical picture that cannot be changed. So, while going-forward patterns can be changed, the historical information revealed by the cell tower data cannot be changed.

Cell Tower Location Data May Help Your Case If:

1.You are trying to show that your former spouse is living someplace other than where he/she claims to be living;
2.You are trying to show that your former spouse's significant other is living in your former spouse's residence;
3.You are trying to refute prior testimony regarding someone's whereabouts;
4.You need to corroborate other evidence, and weave together an entire picture of events; and
5.You need to minimize the costs related to proving your claim that your former spouse is in a cohabiting relationship.

Content concerning legal matters is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon in making legal decisions or assessing your legal risks. Always consult a licensed attorney in the appropriate jurisdiction before taking any course of action that may affect your legal rights.