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Spouses may try collecting digital data during contested divorce

Advances in technology have enriched life in many ways for millions of people. Unfortunately, there are many ways that these advances can be misused in certain situations, including during a contested divorce. California residents who are attempting to work through these difficult times, may benefit from the following information.

According to some who work in family law, there is a trend for embittered spouses to attempt to spy on their partners through electronic surveillance and other means. One of the most popular methods employed is using the devices and programs that are marketed as a means of tracking the whereabouts of children and workers. Individuals are using technology to track the physical movements of spouses who are believed to be engaging in deception.

There are questions concerning the legality of using this technology for other than what it was intended. If people are using technology to spy on private conversations and online activity, then it becomes a question of violating wiretapping laws. If programs that are intended to track cell phones are used on another party's personal phone, then that may cross the line of legal use of these features regardless of whether the spying spouse purchased the phone.

In spite of the fact that some of this technology can be misused, it is unlikely that law enforcement will start prosecuting spouses who use it to simply track a partner's movements. Some sources stated that the majority of those who collect this type of data eventually dispose of the information or the devices used since this information cannot be used as evidence of wrongdoing in the midst of a contested divorce. California residents who are uncertain of how to proceed in these matters can seek the input of an attorney who is skilled in navigating the issues that cause the most discord in these types of cases.

Source:, "Suspicious Spouses Monitor Partners Digitally, Divorce Lawyers Say", Aarti Shahani and Lauren Silverman, Jan. 5, 2018

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