Written by Jonathan Breeden
When you and your spouse separate your lives form one another, shared matters are now considered personal and private. There may come a time when you feel your spouse’s privacy has turned into secrecy. That can make you question whether they are hiding something that is relevant to the divorce, such as an affair that began during the marriage, income or assets, alcohol or drug abuse, or unemployment.
To find out if your suspicions are correct, you might consider spying. You may look through their phone when they are not paying attention, or if you know their passwords, read through their emails and social media accounts. You may go so far as to buy computer spyware, install GPS tracking on their phone or vehicles, hack into their electronics, record telephone conversations, or hire private investigators to follow and photograph your spouse.
You should think twice before invading your spouse’s privacy. However, spousal spying can impact your divorce, and in some cases, it constitutes criminal conduct.
If you are going through a divorce and you think your spouse is hiding something, the best thing to do is be honest with your divorce attorney. At Breeden Law Office, we can utilize lawful and transparent means to determine if your spouse is hiding material information. If you believe your spouse is spying on you, tell your lawyer immediately. Contact us at (919) 661-4970 to schedule a consultation.
Spousal spying insinuates that you believe the other person is hiding something. That does not mean your suspicions are true. If your spouse uncovers that you have been spying on them when they are doing nothing wrong, this can diminish any trust you two had during the divorce. A reasonable divorce can quickly turn into a contentious one.
Spying may provide you with information that your spouse is lying. However, such information may not be helpful. It may not be admissible in court. If you attempt to use the evidence in court, you have to admit to obtaining it through unethical or even illegal means. This may harm your reputation with the judge.
Many decent or salvageable relationships deteriorate because of spousal spying. Just because you had troubles in your relationship does not mean your divorce is heated. Many couples can act reasonably throughout a divorce. When someone uncovers spousal spying, it can take away whatever amount of tolerance you two had for one another.
When you and your spouse share children, maintaining a polite relationship is even more important. You need to be able to parent together, and spying can make it difficult to achieve a comfortable co-parenting arrangement.
Even when you are confident that ending your marriage is the right thing for you, divorce is a difficult process. Emotionally, you need to grieve the loss of your marriage and the future you anticipated. Financially, you have to re-configure your budget for one income. If the divorce proceedings do not go well, this is another layer of stress.
Spying is more likely to increase your stress than alleviate it. Spying requires active participation to figure out how to spy, to review your findings, and to decide whether they confirm your suspicions. You can quickly become engrossed in the act when your attention should be elsewhere. You may find out information that is hurtful, yet not relevant to your divorce. You could find information relevant to your divorce, but at what cost?
Instead of increasing your stress, talk with your lawyer about your concerns and suspicions. Let an attorney lawfully look for evidence related to the divorce.
It is rarely talked about, but when you divorce a spouse, you often lose close friends. As a couple, you may have had other couples as friends. Those people may pick a side or distance themselves from the situation. Friends that you and your spouse brought into the marriage may only remain in contact with their original friend.
During a divorce, it is vital for you to consider other relationships you find valuable and work to maintain them. When it is uncovered, spousal spying can damage more than your relationship with your spouse. It could damage your friendships or your relationships with the spouse’s family members. Other individuals may lose respect for you, and in extreme cases, cut off ties.
Spousal spying can be illegal depending on your specific actions. If you access information that you lawfully had a right to view, then this is not illegal. Many divorce proceedings today involve electronic or online information, which one party requests during discovery or lawfully obtained and submits as evidence.
However, many other methods of spying are unlawful under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act. This means you cannot unlawfully intercept or access stored electronic communications, including phone calls and emails. If your spouse finds out, they could take that information to federal authorities.
If you are tempted to spy on your spouse, or you believe your spouse is spying on you, the best thing for you to do is contact your divorce attorney. Do not take matters into your own hands – this could harm your divorce proceedings. To speak with an experienced lawyer, reach out to Jonathan Breeden. With years of guiding clients through complicated divorce matters, he is prepared to help you. To schedule a case consultation, contact Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970.