Digital Spying in Divorce Cases
Most modern divorce law across the United States is rooted in the notion of no-fault divorce, a legal concept dating back to the 1970s. As such, it is fair to say that a substantive portion of no-fault divorce law could not possibly have considered the role modern technology like the smartphone would play in divorce.
Namely, smartphones and modern technology are increasingly used to spy on a spouse in Florida divorce cases.
Digital Spying and Divorce
If you are a spouse contemplating divorce and are concerned that your every move is being tracked, you may be more correct than you know. Far from being paranoid, you may be intuitively understanding of the fact that spouses are increasingly tracking their former partners.
Indeed, findings from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveal that approximately 1.5 percent of all U.S. adults are victims of stalking. Individuals who are either divorced or separated, however, have been stalked at a frankly alarming 3.3 percent. Effectively, divorced or separated parties are more than twice as likely to be stalked as an ordinary United States citizen.
One frequent tool divorced or separated parties use to stalk their significant other is a GPS tracker, as detailed in an illuminating piece of reporting by NPR. In an increasingly digital world, the landscape of bad behavior by marital parties has substantively changed.
Unfortunately, divorce laws are rooted in concepts that have not kept pace with the rapidly changing digital age.
Is Spying Technology Used Against a Separated Spouse Legal?
It is fair to say that the legality of GPS tracking or using spyware to monitor a separated spouse is unclear, at best. While there is a general consensus among family law experts that the behavior is unlawful, some lawyers are still willing to present evidence on their client’s behalf if the evidence was obtained from spyware or GPS tracking.
Other attorneys, however, are reluctant to accept such ill-gotten evidence or present spyware-related findings in court. That said, the lack of legal clarity in Florida law and the statutes of other states leaves lawyers in a difficult place.
Lawyers have an ethical duty to zealously advocate on their client’s behalf. Customarily, this means presenting any and all evidence that can benefit the client’s legal argument in court. The ill-gotten nature of spying evidence, however, complicates this basic truth of legal representation.
In a world where criminal and civil prosecutions for digital spying remain a legal rarity, victims of spying can be left feeling uncertain as to their legal options. Even so, the best course of action is to discuss any suspicion of spying with your Florida family lawyer.
It may well be the case that your suspicions are well-founded. And, despite the legal uncertainty currently surrounding how digital spying is treated in Florida divorce, discussing the matter with your family lawyer remains the wisest course of action.
Contact The McKinney Law Group for a legal consultation to discuss your spying concerns or any other legally pressing family law issue.
If you have questions regarding a divorce attorney (Tampa, Florida), or are unaware as to the terms and conditions in, talk to, and retain, a family law attorney who can help. Contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected]