Divorces can be extremely contentious in Michigan, and when the spouses are involved in a particularly difficult case, one of the parties might turn to electronic snooping. For example, if there are concerns about one of the spouses attempting to hide or conceal assets, or if there are questions about one of the spouses being in a relationship or engaging in behaviors that could be harmful to the kids, the other spouse might think electronic snooping is a good idea. However, under certain Michigan laws and certain federal laws, it might actually be a criminal offense to engage in particular forms of electronic snooping. While it may be tempting to figure out what your ex is doing by looking at their emails or accessing their text messages, it is important to think twice before you engage in any kind of electronic snooping.
What is considered electronic snooping during a divorce? Our Michigan divorce attorneys will explain some of the most common ways that unlawful electronic snooping may occur, as well as actions you might take that are unlikely to constitute electronic snooping.
Common Examples of Electronic Snooping to Avoid
Whether you are considering electronic snooping or you believe your spouse may have engaged in unlawful electronic snooping, it is important to know what it is. The following are common examples of electronic snooping that could occur in a divorce, and which you should avoid:
- Reading another person’s emails without their permission, even if you still have the password;
- Logging into another person’s social media accounts such as Facebook or Instagram;
- Installing software on a person’s computer in order to track the website they visit or the keys they type, include to obtain passwords;
- Installing a camera on a person’s computer or phone, or hacking into the camera on a person’s computer or phone;
- Going through a person’s text messages;
- Using old login information to access a person’s Google or Outlook calendar;
- Downloading a person’s web browsing history on their computer;
- Accessing a person’s medical records through an electronic portal;
- Wiretapping a person’s telephone;
- Putting a GPS tracker on a person’s vehicle; and/or
- Installing audio or video surveillance at a person’s home and accessing that data electronically.
What Does Not Constitute Electronic Snooping?
You may be wondering if electronic snooping involves looking at your ex’s social media accounts or reading electronic blog posts your spouse makes on certain websites. It is important to know that everything a person posts on social media can be used in a divorce case. As such, it does not constitute unlawful electronic snooping to look at images posted or language used on Facebook or Instagram, for example. Even if a person has their profile set to “private,” seeing posted material an ex has posted because a friend or family member shares it with you is not unlawful electronic snooping.
In a divorce, both spouses should assume that all of the information posted on the internet can be accessed and could be used in the divorce case.
Learn More from Our Michigan Divorce Lawyers
Do you have questions about gathering evidence for your divorce, or concerns about electronic snooping? An experienced Michigan divorce lawyer at our firm can begin working with you today on your case. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to learn more about how we can assist you.