Over the past few decades, technology has changed the divorce process in unsettling ways. With apps and trackers revealing a spouse’s online and in-person activity, technology offers more transparency than ever. However, experts believe that “digital spying” is essentially stalking and should have legal and criminal repercussions.
GPS trackers are among the most common digital spying tools used in bitter separations. The devices attach discreetly to a car and can be used to track the owner’s whereabouts unbeknownst to the driver. Moreover, certain spouses may track a spouse’s online activities with digital spyware. Inexpensive spyware applications can be installed on a phone or computer within moments. They allow one to see every web search, text message, and keystroke a person is doing in real time.
When Digital Spying Becomes Stalking
In certain divorces, digital spying may seem justified. When drug abuse, infidelity, or child neglect are suspected, digital spying can provide important evidence used to protect a spouse or children. However, when one uses technology to control their spouse, spying crosses the line into stalking.
In divorces involving physical or emotional abuse, digital spying gives the abuser unlimited access to the victim’s private life; access that can have dangerous consequences. Spouses hiding for their own protection may be alarmed to find that their ex-spouse knows their whereabouts with technology that costs less than $20, and takes mere moments to install.
Digital Spying and the Law
Digital spying technology is still relatively new, and the law is still a bit murky as far as how it impacts divorce. Installing spyware on another adult’s phone or computer without his or her consent is illegal, but once incriminating evidence is obtained, divorce lawyers can use that in a case.
Because police are hesitant to investigate digital spying, criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits are few and far between. Victims are left to hire private investigators to determine how their privacy was compromised. According to National Public Radio research, consequences for digital spying are inconsistent. One spouse using spyware to monitor his wife’s movements received jail time, while another who slipped a GPS tracker on his wife’s vehicle did not because he was listed as a co-owner of the car.
Somerset Divorce Lawyers Lyons & Associates, P.C. Fight for Those Going Through a Divorce
Laws regarding the use of digital spying evidence can be used in divorce are complex. If you suspect your ex-spouse is using technology to track your online whereabouts, contact a skilled divorce lawyer in Somerset at Lyons & Associates, P.C. We will guide you on the best legal course of action available. Our team of compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys fight for victims of physical and emotional abuse seeking divorce.
To schedule a confidential consultation, call 908-575-9777 or contact us online today. Our offices are located in Somerville, New Jersey, and we proudly serve residents throughout the state, including Somerset County, Morris County, and Union County, including the towns of Bridgewater, Basking Ridge, Mendham, Morristown, Somerville, South Plainfield, Somerset, and Woodbridge.