To snoop or not to snoop? It’s an interesting question. There are as many people who say, “you shouldn’t be in a relationship if you can’t trust the person,” as those who say “don’t buy the car until you’ve checked under the hood.” The truth is, whether you snoop or not, technological advances have made cheating easier than ever before because of the speed and efficiency with which we can connect to people that would have been unreachable before.
I’m not just talking about porn. I’m talking about Facebook, Google+, and Twitter—social networking sites that make it easier than ever to check up on your old flame. If you’re in the younger demographic, you may never have lost touch with each other at all. If you’re a bit older, you’re probably finding old high school friends every couple of days. Not to mention dating sites like Match.com and eharmony, as well as a whole plethora of other sites that specifically market to married people who are looking for an illicit hookup, all make it easier for us to connect with people that we maybe should avoid. We can search and find people with more ease than ever before, and communicating with them is cheap (or free), too. Old people tell stories of long-distance calls that cost a fortune, but these days, domestic long distance calls are no different than any other on a cell phone network, texting is included in plans, Skype is free, and so on. The means with which you can find and communicate with people are easier and cheaper to access than ever before.
So, should you snoop, or shouldn’t you? In a healthy, otherwise functional relationship, I can’t answer that question for you. I don’t see those kinds of relationships. If I were discussing my own relationship, I would say absolutely not—but, then again, I’m not married to the kind of man my clients are. (Or at least, some of them.) The relationships I see are headed towards divorce. I know this because I’m a divorce attorney, and they wouldn’t be seeing me otherwise.
It seems as though there’s a certain percentage of women who feel that snooping is okay, even expected, and a certain percentage of women who feel that it is generally wrong. Unsurprisingly, these women tend to feel a little differently once they come to my office. However, at this point, snooping becomes especially dangerous.
In Virginia, it’s against the law to record a conversation to which you are not a party. You can’t record him when he’s talking to his mom, his sister, his girlfriend, his attorney (or anyone else) if you’re not already a party to that conversation. If you’re recording a conversation where you ARE a party, the other person should know that you’re recording. You also can’t hack into his email or any other password-protected account.
If you bring any of this kind of evidence to your attorney’s office, your attorney probably won’t even be able to use it. (We have standards of ethics that govern our conduct and we can be sanctioned if we don’t follow the rules. Your point, whatever it is, is not worth permanently losing our bar license over.) It could even expose you to criminal liability. The bottom line is: if you can’t obtain whatever it is in a legal, non-sketchy way, we don’t advise snooping. Of course, that’s not to say that you should give up on proving that your husband has been wining and dining his ex-Playmate of a girlfriend (who, by the way, was also convicted of several violent felonies) on the credit card that’s in your name alone.
Discovery is the process through which attorneys discover the details about a marriage. We can use different discovery techniques to uncover almost anything, from hidden bank accounts to the real reason he lost his job and, of course, all the details about his trampy new girlfriend. Don’t open yourself up to criminal liability and loss of credibility on the witness stand. It’s not worth it.