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What constitutes an affair?

If reports in the Press are correct, there has been another high-profile lesson in the dangers of cheating electronically, as it is suggested that Kelly Brook has ended her relationship with Rugby boyfriend Danny Cipriani after discovering a “secret” phone he used to exchange explicit messages with a number of other women.

It is reported that after finding the phone and “proof” of Cipriani’s conduct, model and actress Kelly contacted the various girls herself to find out once and for all what had been going on. The reports suggest that her boyfriend had been exchanging graphic messages with up to 6 different women, and had made plans to meet with them during his high-profile romance with Miss Brook. He is said to be “devastated” by their Relationship Breakdown as a result of what Kelly found.

Reaction to Cipriani’s alleged conduct has been mixed, with debate as to whether exchanging messages constitutes an affair. It is worth noting, that such behaviour on its own is not sufficient to establish adultery for Divorce proceedings, the definition of which strictly includes physical intimacy. It would however be classed as “unreasonable behaviour” (an alternative ground for divorce) which can entitle a spouse to divorce.

Certainly in our experience, the vast majority of people who have discovered their spouse or partner has had an affair have done so by electronic means, be it texts, emails, photos on phones or bank statements online. In this day and age, it is nigh on impossible not to leave a record of illicit behaviour, thus providing unwitting proof of misconduct.

By Family Law Solicitor Cara Nuttall

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