How Can Electronic Snooping Affect Your Divorce?
Many couples in Orlando who make the decision to file for divorce do so amicably, but at the same time, many do not. For those married couples who are anticipating an extremely contentious divorce, it can be tempting to try to obtain damaging information about your ex. Such aims are particularly common when one spouse is hoping to limit time-sharing with minor children from the marriage, or when one spouse has concerns that the other is attempting to hide assets or take other actions that are fraudulent or unfair. Today we want to specifically address the issue of electronic snooping. In short, electronic snooping can hurt your divorce case immensely. It is important to understand how Florida law addresses some of the most common electronic snooping issues.
Attempting to Record Your Spouse’s Phone Calls
Whether you are attempting to record your spouse’s phone calls with another party or are simply recording the calls between you and your spouse in order to use the recordings against your soon-to-be ex in the courtroom, it is important to know that you simply cannot do so unless your spouse consents to the recording. While some states permit wiretapping when only one party to the conversation consents, Florida is what is known as a “two-party consent” state when it comes to wiretapping. In other words, unless a law enforcement official or investigator is doing the wiretapping, Florida’s wiretapping law requires that all parties in the conversation consent to the conversation being recorded.
You might be thinking: Is it really wiretapping to record a conversation with my spouse? You might be thinking that the term wiretapping only refers to actions taken by law enforcement officials in criminal cases. In short, this term is used in general to apply to the recording or intercepting of any “oral or electronic communication” between parties. As Florida’s divorce law clarifies, electronic communication is defined as “contact, other than face-to-face contact, facilitated by tools such as telephones, electronic mail or email, webcams, video-conferencing equipment and software or other wired or wireless technologies.”
To be clear, if you attempt to record a conversation involving your spouse without his or her knowledge—even if you think it could provide damaging evidence about your spouse—such recording could ultimately end up hurting your own case.
Trying to Hack Into Your Spouse’s Texts or Emails
Do not attempt to obtain your spouse’s emails or other forms of electronic communication without your spouse’s consent. Whether you have your spouse’s email password (or can guess them), or are considering installing spyware in order to read your spouse’s emails, simply do not do it. In O’Brien v. O’Brien (2005), a wife installed spyware on her husband’s computer in order to intercept his emails. The wife attempted to introduce information from the emails into her divorce case. The court ultimately determined that the wife’s actions violated Florida law. Accordingly, the evidence in the emails could not be used in the divorce case.
You do not want to put your divorce case at risk by attempting to obtain your spouse’s emails. Remember that any lawfully obtained emails may be fair game, such as those you have received from your spouse. However, you should not attempt to use electronic means to spy on your spouse.
Contact an Orlando Divorce Lawyer
If you have concerns about electronic snooping in your divorce, you should discuss those questions or concerns with an Orlando divorce attorney at our firm. Contact Anderson & Ferrin today for more information.