Marital spying is occurring much more frequently these days. It can take many forms, from hidden cameras to computer spyware to wiretaps. However, such conduct can land the snooping spouse in hot water in some states:
- A wife won $7,500 in New Jersey after proving that her husband used a monitoring device to track her transactions and e-mails during divorce proceedings. Garfinkel v. Garfinkel.
- A Florida state court found that a wife violated state wiretapping laws when she installed spyware on her husband’s computer to record evidence of an extramarital affair. The court also held that the chat records could not be introduced as evidence in the couple’s divorce proceeding. O’Brien v. O’Brien.
Divorce attorneys are also becoming aware of the ethical landmines that their clients’ conduct can create in such situations. Atlanta divorce attorney John Mayoue believes that attorneys should be careful when discussing spying tactics with clients, noting that they could be held liable if they review, or even know about, private information which was obtained illegally.
In addition, technology is developing faster than the law can keep up in many cases. For instance, in the O’Brien computer spyware case mentioned above, the software installed by the wife only took pictures of the screen. Her attorney, Ryan Thomas Truskoski, has taken the position that despite the court’s ruling, she did nothing illegal because no communications were intercepted.
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Source: "Gadgetry Makes Marital Spying Easier, but Creates Tricky Legal Issues" by Tresa Baldas, published at Law.com. Thanks to the Stark County Law Library Blog for its post finding this article.