He's cheating, he got married, he never divorced you...

Sharon - posted on 08/05/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )




... claims your marriage was never legal (2 or 3 kids later, many tax statements later, insurance company etc) and then steals your kids and sues for sole custody..

WTF would you do?


CLEVELAND -- Dread of the unknown hung in the air as Lynn France typed two words into the search box on Facebook: the name of the woman with whom she believed her husband was having an affair.

Click. And there it was, the stuff of nightmares for any spouse, cuckolded or not. Wedding photos. At Walt Disney World, no less, featuring her husband literally dressed as Prince Charming. His new wife, a pretty blonde, was a glowing Sleeping Beauty, surrounded by footmen.

"I was numb with shock, to tell you the truth," says France, an occupational therapist from Westlake, a Cleveland suburb. "There was like an album of 200 pictures on there. Their whole wedding."

Affairs were once shadowy matters, illicit encounters whispered about and often difficult to prove. But in the age of Facebook and Twitter and lightning-fast communication, the notion of privacy is fast becoming obsolete. From flirtatious text messages to incriminating e-mails, marital indiscretions are much easier to track - especially if potentially damaging photographic evidence is posted online.

"All of these things are just a trail of cyber breadcrumbs that are easily tracked by good divorce lawyers," says Parry Aftab, an expert on Internet safety and privacy laws.

France, 41, was not completely blindsided by her Facebook discovery, which happened in January 2009. That fall, she had grown suspicious when her husband began taking frequent business trips, even leaving the day the couple's newborn son came home from the hospital. Once, she found his passport at home when he was supposed to be in China for business.

In October, before leaving for another trip, her husband left a hotel website up on the couple's computer screen.

"So I actually went there with a girlfriend, just to see for myself for sure," France says. "He was there with this girlfriend. I said, 'Hey, I'm his wife. We've got a baby.'"

The woman told France that she was engaged to France's husband.

"Sure enough, they were registered for a wedding at Target," France says.

A girlfriend recommended checking the woman's Facebook page, which was then open to the public, France says, but has since become private. There, France found evidence of an unfolding relationship that she still couldn't wrap her head around. Overwhelmed with two young children, she confronted her husband. She says he told her he wouldn't actually go through with the wedding.

It wasn't until she saw the wedding photos that she finally began divorce proceedings.

"People who engage in these sorts of behaviors now have the option of trying to keep things private or turning it into a spectacle and becoming their own reality show," says lawyer Andrew Zashin, a child custody expert who is representing Lynn France. "In this case, it seems, the spouse may have crossed the line and gotten married while he was still married."

Aftab, a lawyer who runs the online protection site WiredSafety.org, says the lesson to be learned from the Frances' case is that no form of communication is sacred anymore.

"It's like trying to catch a river in your hand," she says. "It will leak out eventually."

But Aftab doesn't recommend snooping around online. That can backfire in court if used inappropriately - such as when spouses log onto each other's Facebook pages without permission. If your spouse isn't trustworthy, she says, get a divorce and save yourself the trouble.

Lynn's husband, John France, does not deny that he has remarried. Rather, he simply is insisting that he was never married to Lynn in the first place.

His attorney, Gary Williams, issued a statement Tuesday saying his client is asking a family law court to declare that his marriage to Lynn was "void since its inception."

"While it appears that John and Lynda France were both under the impression, once upon a time, that they were married, the fact of the matter is that their marriage was never legally proper," Williams wrote, "and, therefore, it does not actually exist."

Lynn and John France were married in July 2005 in a seaside wedding on Italy's Amalfi Coast, having organized the event through Regency San Marino, which coordinates weddings for couples looking to get hitched in Italy. On the company's website, Lynn is still the first radiant bride whose portrait appears in a gauzy veil, the brilliant blue sea behind her.

If that wedding was a fraud, it was news to Lynn.

"If that were true, then he's lied to the IRS," Zashin says. "He's lied to insurance companies. Banks."

In June 2009, against the advice of her attorneys, Lynn France dropped divorce proceedings when her husband came home and persuaded her to reconcile.

"I just wanted to believe the good when he came to me and said, 'Let's reconcile, I love you,'" she says. "You want to give somebody a second chance."

But three months ago, Lynn says she was cleaning the sink when her husband took the couple's 2-year-old son out of her arms and said he was going to give him some milk. Minutes later, she heard the car running.

"He threw them in, no car seats, no nothing, and took off," she says.

She hasn't seen her sons since. John France had taken them to Tampa, Fla., where he currently lives with his new wife and, according to his attorney, is seeking custody of their children.

Lynn France called 911, but as in most parental custody disputes, little could be done. She is in contact with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and has a team of attorneys preparing for a court fight. Authorities have told her not to attempt to take back the children forcibly.

For Lynn, the only glimpse of her children now comes, ironically, from the same Facebook page where she found those fairy-tale wedding photos.

Until the day she can see her children again, Lynn France says she continues to text her husband, pleading with him to bring the children back to Ohio.

"The only way I've been able to see my children is on her Facebook page," she says. "It's stranger than fiction to watch this woman living my life.


Isobel - posted on 08/05/2010




My ex was the one who signed my kids up for daycare...so when we were divorcing, he removed me from the "acceptable pick up list". He then arrived at my home, picked up the kids for his visitation, and left me with a note saying "I'm keeping the kids till a judge makes me let you see them".

Luckily, he didn't move, he stayed just down the street, but I had to call the police to help me pick my kids up from the daycare...and forcibly insist that the daycare worker call the police before she called my husband to come get them. Legally they had no right to keep them from me (and to be honest they were hoping the police would insist that I could take them, but they had to follow the rules on the papers they had), but the police then told me that if he and I could not come to an amicable agreement, that they would be sent to a foster home until it could be resolved.

It's actually pretty sick what people can get away with if they check their rights first... I told the police that I would allow him to take them home if need be, but that they could count on being called to the daycare everyday while I tried to pick them up...and that my ex would have to leave work every day to stop me...and that ended that. But I never forget how lucky I am that he didn't move out of the city.

When it really comes down to it...fathers have just as many rights as mothers do...I almost lost custody even after his little stunt, because I was in an empty white apartment in the city, while he was still living in MY house that I decorated by hand in the suburbs (even though it was in foreclosure).

I get REALLY ticked off when I hear second wives go off on how the mother always gets preferential treatment in court...because it simply isn't true.

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That's messed up! It amazes me all the stories I hear about Dad's taking their kids and royally screwing mom over! I agree moms are losing preferential treatment! If my husband did this to me I would turn his life upside down!

Lindsay - posted on 08/05/2010




I read this earlier on fb and I really believe it made my bp rise! /:-| In my head I was screaming at her for not getting out the first time she caught him cheating. But the emotional side of me knew that she was probably shocked and wanted to hold on to the little bit of hope that it would stop. I'm sure when he asked to reconcile, he knew she was in a fragile state and I'm sure she wanted to try to hold on like hell if for nothing else but her boys. Him running off and taking the kids was by far the worst blow though. I can't even imagine!

I hope that she has a good legal team and nails him for either bigamy or fraud for claiming her as his wife all those years (the second, if in fact their marriage wasn't legit). And I hope karma hands him and his new wife everything they've got coming.

Isobel - posted on 08/05/2010




If she lived in Canada, she would have to file wherever the children resided...and continue the case from there.

Charlene - posted on 08/05/2010




:( :( :( :( :( :(
This is so sad. That new wife is just as bad as him!!
I just can't even think right now, I'm just so saddened/disgusted. I hope she kicks his ass in court and gets her kids back!

Brandy - posted on 08/05/2010




I was reading this a few hours ago and I was disgusted and I didn't even get to the part about the kids because I was interrupted by my own kids. That is just sad to take such a young child from their mother. I don't know what I would do without my kids. I would probably just die of heartache. That poor woman. Her whole life is shattered. Hopefully, somebody reads this and knows how to help her.

Tah - posted on 08/05/2010




not if noone actually has custody..if noone has gone to court and gotten papers fro custody then what he did isn't illegal...so she needs to go to florida..find where they live..wait until he leaves for work..kick the door in and grab her kids because the new wife has no standing to deny her the kids, or wait until they go to daycare...follow..then go in and get them.....i would suggest whuppong the wife and husbands tails...a little pepper spray..oc spray if your nasty...some ninjitsu..but that wouldn't look good in court..but when they do get to court and hear this story..she will get them for sure...

*Lisa* - posted on 08/05/2010




Isn't that kidnap????? What a freak!!!!!! I really hope this woman gets her kids back!!!

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