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Why You Should Avoid Snooping during Divorce

 Posted on October 06, 2017 in High Asset Divorce

Texas divorce attorneyMany couples are able to dissolve their marriage amicably and require little to no court intervention in coming to a child custody or spousal maintenance arrangement. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, especially when one of the parties suspects the other of substance abuse or hiding assets. In these situations, it can be tempting for one party to look through the other spouse’s emails or text messages in an effort to find information that can be used in court. This is almost never a good idea and can actually lead to criminal charges, in addition to jeopardizing visitation time and other child custody matters. If you believe that your spouse has been going through your private electronic information, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced complex divorce attorney who can explain your legal options.

Federal Law

Although checking a spouse’s email or cell phone may seem innocent enough, it actually qualifies as a violation of federal law, which prohibits unauthorized access to private email accounts. Recently, a Michigan man who suspected his wife of having an affair and logged onto her email without permission was even charged with the felony offense of misusing a computer, which is punishable by up to five years imprisonment. For this reason, parties to a divorce should be wary of invading each other’s privacy by checking their email or reading their text messages without permission.

What Qualifies as Electronic Snooping?

When most people consider electronic snooping, they think of accessing someone’s email. While this is one common method of electronic snooping, it is not the only one, as this term actually covers a wide range of activities, including:

  • Signing onto someone else’s social media account, such as Facebook or Twitter;
  • Searching another person’s web search history;
  • Reading text messages on a password protected phone;
  • Installing keylogging software on someone’s computer or phone to track their keystrokes;
  • Installing a hidden camera or recorder; and
  • Attaching a GPS device to another person’s vehicle.

Using these methods to gather information about a spouse is risky, especially when the parties are going through a divorce, as these activities can be used against a person in court. Even if the person does not face criminal charges, he or she could be formally sanctioned by a judge who could weigh the person’s actions when making a decision in a child custody matter. In most cases, evidence gathered in this manner is not admissible at all, so spouses who attempt to gather information in this way could risk an adverse custody decision by collecting evidence that will not even be admitted to court. To ensure that you do not overstep your spouse’s privacy during a divorce, please contact a member of our legal team for an explanation of your rights and restrictions.

Contact a Member of our Cedar Park Complex Divorce Legal Team

For help throughout each step of your divorce case, please contact Powers Kerr & Rashidi, PLLC today. Our passionate Cedar Park complex divorce attorneys are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case.



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