The Dangers of Snooping: How hacking into his Facebook can cost you BIG time in divorce and custody cases
Technology has created more ways than ever to spy on our husbands—but that doesn’t mean it’s legal. It happens all the time: a client comes in and tries to hand us a five-inch binder filled with tear-stained copies of all the emails she found when she hacked into his email account. “He cheated on me,” she cries. “And I have the proof!”
If you break into a password protected account (like his email, Facebook, or Twitter), you’re breaking the law—and we just can’t use the information you found there, no matter how good it is. If his phone is password protected, and you figure out the screen lock and take pictures of his text messages, you’re breaking the law.
These days, there are so many different technologies available that, if we want, most of us can find a way to get the information that he’s trying so hard to hide. There are keystroke programs that can help decipher passwords and even tracking programs that you can put on his phone so that you can always tell where he is. Creepy, right? But the ease with which we can access programs like this has made us more and more willing to ignore the distinction between right and wrong. Besides, many of us feel as though our husband shouldn’t expect a right of privacy in the marriage—particularly when what he’s trying to hide isn’t our Christmas present, but an affair with a secretary or a spandex-clad “pal” from Pilates class (you’d be surprised what reasons men find to take Pilates).
Those were just some of the new programs that people are using to try to catch their lying, cheating spouses. There are older ways that people still try to use to catch their husbands—like recorded conversations. In Virginia, you can only record a conversation that you are a party to; you can’t go around recording conversations between other people.
You have to resist the urge to catch him in any of these ways. They won’t make you feel any better, and you’ll probably be breaking the law. You can’t access anything that is password protected, and you definitely can’t use GPS or other methods to track him without his knowledge.
You should live as though you have a private investigator following you, and behave in a way that you wouldn’t be ashamed to admit to your mother. Okay, so maybe you wouldn’t be ashamed to admit what you’ve done to your mother (maybe the apple didn’t fall far from the tree)—but would you be ashamed to admit it to a judge?
I spoke to a woman the other day who told me about this great new program she found online, Spypig, which her husband was using to track whether or not she had opened the emails she received from him. She was so glad she found out how he was tracking her. “It can backfire on you,” she told me, “if you tell a Judge you are not receiving emails from your ex.” Oh, dear.
It should go without saying, ladies, but you shouldn’t be lying—and particularly not in court. Judges don’t like liars, and that will lose you your divorce or custody case FAST. Not only that, but you could be prosecuted for perjury. That’s pretty serious!
If you live as though you have a private investigator following you and behave in a way that you won’t have to lie about in court, you’re probably making wise decisions that will serve you well as you move forward in your divorce or custody case. It can be tempting, especially when your husband has wronged you, to try to use technology to catch him in the act. After all, he deserves consequences for his actions, right? Of course right! But don’t bite your nose to spite your face—or you could wind up in some pretty hot water yourself.