September 01, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- In the information age, there is an electronic record of almost every aspect of our lives. If you're contemplating divorce
, or if you're already in the middle of one, the temptation to secretly check up on your spouse on the computer can be powerful.
Yet, if you're not careful, you might be running abreast of privacy or even computer hacking laws. This could jeopardize your footing in the divorce, and may even lead to fines or jail time.
When it comes to electronic snooping, particularly in new media like Facebook and Twitter, the laws on privacy are murky at best. But, with at least a general understanding of electronic privacy, you should be able to keep yourself out of trouble and still obtain what you need in your divorce.
Accessing Private Accounts Can Create Legal Problems
In one recent case, a Michigan man was charged with a felony for reading his wife's emails, from which he sought to learn more about her extramarital affair. Although the wife kept her passwords in a book next to her computer, she had not authorized her husband to access her email account.
In most states, unauthorized access to a computer account is a serious crime. Typically, this type of charge is reserved for computer hackers and others looking to steal financial information. But, if you're checking up on your spouse without his or her permission, you may also be violating the law.
Email is just where it begins. Potential sources of individuals' personal information are everywhere, including GPS, iPhone tracking, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and the list goes on.
The law as it applies to invasion of privacy between spouses is gray at best. Generally, however, the level of protection afforded by the law is based on someone's reasonable expectation of privacy in a given situation.
For example, if your spouse is walking down a crowded public street, they have made their whereabouts a matter of public knowledge. Unless your behavior amounts to stalking, you would likely not cross boundaries of privacy laws by following. But, if your spouse were to enter a private home, you would probably be invading their privacy by following them in, since we generally expect a greater measure of solitude in a private home compared to a busy street.
This same reasoning can be analogized to the electronic context. If you are following your spouse's public Tweets or public Facebook profile, you should be in the clear. However, if, unbeknownst to your spouse, you are checking in on anything that requires password access or is otherwise protected from public scrutiny, you are in danger of breaking privacy laws.
Don't Break the Law, Use It: A Better Strategy for Your Divorce
Of course, the best policy in order to keep yourself out of trouble is simply not to track or snoop on your spouse at all. You might be curious about what is going on, but it is not worth the risk, and there are other, better ways to find out information you need.
In your divorce, your spouse will have to make certain disclosures of financial and other relevant information; the court can order these disclosures if need be. What's more, even if you were to obtain information by going through your spouse's electronic data, you would likely be unable to use it in your divorce case.
Privacy cases involving divorcing spouses who get on each others' Facebook and Twitter accounts are springing up around the country. While these cases make for interesting legal reading and are exploring novel questions of law, you don't want to be the personal subject of one. Before you consider going into your spouse's electronic accounts, ask yourself if it's really worth it, and if you're really going to be satisfied with whatever it is you stand to find.
A far better idea is to contact a divorce attorney
and explore the legal avenues at your disposal. Not only is this the safer route, but unlike information collected by casual electronic snooping, information you gather in the course of preparing your legal case will be usable to achieve tangible results.
If you think your spouse might be up to no good, talk to an attorney today, preferably a board certified family law specialist. Your attorney can help you come up with solutions the right way, through the legal process.
Article provided by Lewert Law Offices, P.A.
Visit us at www.lewertlaw.com---
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