Snooping During Divorce

Unfortunately, some people who are going through a divorce will do just about anything to gain "incriminating" evidence that can be used against their spouse in court to improve their settlement or gain custody of their children. That can include using technology to gather evidence of bad behavior like an affair or drug use.

Family law attorneys say that digital spying is part of more divorces than ever. In some cases, people spy on their spouses or ex-spouses because they simply can't let go. They "stalk" them electronically.

There Are Multiple Methods of Digital Spying

Digital spying is relatively easy and inexpensive. GPS trackers can be installed on or in cars. Spyware can be placed in computers. Of course, there are good old-fashioned hidden cameras as well.

Unfortunately, if these devices are installed in cars, homes, computers and phones that were purchased by the spouse doing the spying or jointly by the couple, it's not illegal. There are some cases in which criminal or civil legal action can be taken. However, as is often true, the law hasn't caught up with technology.

Many Attorneys Won't Use the Evidence

Most family law attorneys strongly discourage their clients from digital spying. However, as one family court judge says, "Lawyers are put in a position of having to choose between a rock and a hard place, because [their] duty is to zealously advocate for clients which means using every bit of evidence that can help their case." One attorney says, "I have little power over a client's curiosity. More often than not, they've already done the [illegal] act by the time they show up to my office."
Nonetheless, she says she won't use it as evidence.

Many people who learned that spyware has been installed on their computer trade it in for a new one or erase their hard drive. However, when they do that, the evidence that they were being spied on goes with it. If you believe that your spouse or ex-spouse is spying on you, it's essential to notify your attorney immediately so that you can determine what your options are. Obviously, if you are concerned for your safety, there are legal steps such as seeking a protective order that your attorney can take.

If you are considering gathering evidence of wrongdoing by your spouse or you already have it, discuss it with your family law attorney. While you may believe it will help your case, it can end up backfiring on you.