Maintaining Electronic Privacy During Divorce or Separation

Daniel Noffsinger - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

As tempting as it may seem, electronic spousal spying during the pendency of a divorce or separation proceeding is fraught with landmines. It is best to avoid the behavior because the consequences of being caught electronically spying on your spouse is not worth the hassle. Keep in mind that if you are involved in divorce or separation proceedings, financial disclosure rules provide you with legal access to any and all electronic files and data maintained or used by your spouse, in support of your position in the underlying matrimonial action. Even if you suspect your spouse of hiding or destroying electronic evidence, the Court will most often assist you in obtaining the information through legal channels.

Electronic Snooping is Illegal

Under federal law, electronic snooping may be considered computer fraud, computer and information theft, or cyber-terrorism - all possible felony charges. Under Colorado state law, electronic spying may be considered violations of privacy or anti-stalking laws. Breaking into someone’s private email account or password protected areas on financial institution or social media websites is hacking - clear criminal conduct. Clearing the internet browsing history is not enough. Some evidence of your snooping is preserved, can be traced to you, and opens you up to criminal liability.

Protect Your Online Privacy

You should not expect nor is there any expectation of privacy if you leave your private email or password protected websites open for public access. It is best to protect yourself electronically to discourage spousal snooping and to provide privacy protection during your divorce or separation proceedings. Particularly if you and your spouse continue to live together after filing for divorce and prior to the resolution of your divorce action and share a home computer or tablet, protect your online privacy.

There are some immediate steps you should take to protect your online privacy and discourage spousal spying.

  • Change your passwords. If you and your spouse share passwords to individual accounts change them. Similarly, if you and your spouse share passwords to joint accounts change them.
  • Disable automatic login. Many browsers allow you to save your user and password information automatically so that when you visit frequented websites you do not have to log-in to access your account. Disable this feature.
  • Secure wireless devices. Many people have connected laptop or computer, tablet and smartphone devices – sharing information across all devices. Disable information sharing across your devices.
  • Use caution with social media. Whatever you post, even if to private friends and family, on social media is public. The news is littered with stories of private postings being shared with the entire world, forget about just your spouse finding out what you are up to – the information can be shared with anyone. Particularly if you have children, be careful what you post about your spouse during the pendency of the divorce or separation proceedings. Your posts may affect custody, parenting time, or visitation schedules.
Contact a Colorado Springs Divorce Lawyer

If you are contemplating divorce or separation, seek the legal advice and services of Noffsinger Law. Located in Colorado Springs, Noffsinger Law specializes in divorce and family related matters, including child and spousal support, custody, adoption, and parental rights. Schedule a legal consultation today, or call at 719-368-3688.