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May

What is Considered Electronic Snooping in Divorce?

By Iafrate & Salassa

Closeup of fingers typing on laptop, our staff of divorce attorneys Clinton Township can assist with your alimony details.

Electronic snooping in divorce is essentially recording your spouse to obtain evidence that will hurt them and benefit you during your divorce case. Many spouses consider snooping on their spouse electronically, so it is important for you to know that you are not alone. Still, it is just as important that you understand the laws in Michigan surrounding the practice so you do not find yourself in legal trouble.

Recording Conversations

Michigan law makes it illegal to use any device to listen to the conversation of another person without the consent of everyone who is lawfully part of that conversation. While the term ‘eavesdropping’ is used in the state’s statutes, it is also illegal to videotape your spouse when going through a divorce. For example, if you set up a video camera in the home without your spouse’s knowledge to catch them cheating, that evidence is illegal and will not be admissible in court. You could also face felony charges for illegally recording your spouse. 

The only exception to this is if you are recording a conversation between your spouse and your children, and you are recording in the best interests of the child. Still, this is largely left to the discretion of family judges and so, it is best to speak to a family lawyer who can advise on the actions you can and cannot take.  If, on the other hand, you are part of a conversation, you can record that communication. Still, you cannot use a third party to record or illegally intercept the information.

GPS Tracking

You may also want to attach some form of GPS tracking to your spouse’s car. You may want to prove they are not going to work when they say they are, or that they are going to another location to engage in an affair. Regardless of the reason, this is also illegal under Michigan law. Unless you solely own the vehicle, you cannot attach a GPS device to it. Even under this law, there are still exceptions. You can attach a tracking device to a car that you own but that your child uses, if you hire a private investigator, or if you are the leaseholder of the vehicle.

Gaining Access to Electronic Information

Another popular method when obtaining evidence of fault is for a spouse to gain access to information that is electronically stored, such as that which is on a computer or a smartphone. This is legal under federal law, as long as you have the password to the device and the owner provides consent. However, using devices such as a keystroke logger that show the password fairly easily and quickly, is illegal.

Our Michigan Family Lawyers Can Advise on the Legal Actions You Can Take

During a divorce, you may think of taking actions you once would have never considered, such as recording a conversation your spouse is having with another person. It is important to know what the law says about these actions before taking them so you do not face criminal charges. At Iafrate & Salassa, our Clinton Township family lawyers can advise on all aspects of your case, including what is legal and what is not. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation so we can review your case.

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