[Source: ABC Nightline]

Virtual Cheating?
Forget about phone sex. Today there are all kinds of ways to connect: Facebook, sexting and even doing it with an avatar online. We look at how online love is changing the hookup.

Congressman Anthony Weiner is now a pariah in his own party with the latest report being that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is upset that he didn’t warn her about the extent of his misdeeds until right before his bombshell news conference yesterday. Weiner may be an extreme case of internet misbehavior but where exactly is the line these days between online flirtation and infidelity? If you wonder whether the distinction matters, just ask any practicing divorce lawyer.

He’s a congressman caught in a sex scandal apparently without ever having had sex outside his marriage. “To be clear I have never met any of these women or had any physical relationships at any time,” declares Anthony Weiner.

“It was nothing like a relationship-nothing like that whatsoever,” states Meagan Broussard, who had an online relationship with Anthony Weiner.

But does that make it any less real? Call it cheating 2.0. It’s the dark side of E-harmony. Just as technology created new, more efficient ways to bring encounters together, those encounters don’t necessarily end happily ever after. For a married man or woman, sparking up a flirtation with a stranger online or rekindling an old flame on Facebook can truly be playing with fire.

How often do the emails or photos end up as evidence in the divorce proceeding?

“The emails come up in almost every divorce case we have,” states high net worth divorce attorney Christopher C. Melcher.

In a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial lawyers, 81% of divorce lawyers reported an increase in the use of evidence collected from social networking sites.

“Before we would have to hire private investigators to go get the dirt on somebody. Now people post their own dirt on these sites,” explains top divorce attorney Christopher C. Melcher.

And we are not just talking about the information that people share publically. Divorce lawyers get access to all the messages and chats. Including some deleted items that a cheating spouse would prefer to keep secret.

“Since so much of our communication is done electronically, we are leaving a history or trail of everything we’ve done electronically somewhere,” replies top divorce lawyer Christopher C. Melcher.

You are practically sending a postcard that anybody can read.

“Yes, in the old days we might find out about an affair through some letter that was sent or through some knock on the door. But now, we have a running transcript of the entire relationship available online,” explains top family law attorney Christopher C. Melcher.

For more information, visit https://www.walzermelcher.com.

© 2011 ABC Inc. No claims made to copyrighted material.
Aired June 7, 2011