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  • Writer's pictureStephen Williams

Online “Emotional” Affair No Excuse in Recent Divorce/Family Law Ruling

A recent case before the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reviewed whether there is an important distinction, when it comes to fault in divorce, between intimate, online exchanges and physical consummation of an affair. If there is a difference, it wasn’t enough for the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals to overturn a harsh trial court ruling against the party engaging in the online activity in question.

The Court’s opinion in the case, publicly available at this link, Presiding Judge William C. Thompson noted that the online relationship lasted “a number of years” and many of the exchanges were “explicit” in nature. Further, the party expressed a desire the end the current marriage in order to get together IRL. Judge Thompson and his colleagues on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, all of whom concurred in Judge Thompson’s opinion, expressed no sympathy for the offending party.

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This was a complex case. Both the trial court and the Appellate Court considered a number of different factual circumstances and applicable legal doctrine, not one of which was completely dispositive of either court’s ruling. The case remains subject to rehearing and or appeal to the Supreme Court of Alabama.

That said, any party expecting to catch break because an extra-marital relationship was merely “emotional” looks to be disappointed.


This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. If you would like to speak more about how you, as a Committed Parent or Caring Relative, can be more effective in your Child Custody case or family law case, please visit to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices. ~SW, Foxtrot

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