Feel Like Snooping? It Could Land in You In Hot Water
When a marriage goes sour and a couple decides to move on and go their separate ways there are usually a lot of hard feelings between both spouses. Whatever the source of the hard feelings, they are real and they can often lead to mistrust. While not all divorces include infidelity from one or both spouse, many people believe that their spouse has been, or is being, unfaithful. If a person believes that his or her spouse is cheating, or is trying to hide any kind of important information, that person might consider doing a little snooping.
It used to be that if you wanted to snoop, or spy, on your significant other you basically had to hire a private detective to follow your spouse around in hopes of finding what you were looking for. However, in this day and age of personal electronic devices and all their amazing capabilities, it is a lot easier for just about anyone to keep tabs on another person. However, even though electronic snooping might be much easier than it used to be, that doesn’t make it OK in the eyes of the law. That’s because according to Michigan law, electronic snooping is illegal.
Even if you know that your spouse is guilty of wrongdoing, if you obtain evidence of his or her wrongdoing by using illegal measures then that evidence will likely not be admitted in court (however it could be used to impeach a witness). In addition, if you are caught using illegal measures you might face criminal charges and that could also damage your credibility in divorce court. That could lead to an unsatisfactory settlement.
No matter what it is you might be looking for, whether it’s evidence of adultery, trying to discover if your spouse has hidden assets, or attempting to catch them during a moment of bad parenting, Michigan law does not allow snooping. Therefore, anyone in Michigan caught trying to obtain access to a conversation by using an electronic device, without the other party consenting to it, could be facing felony charges.
However, always keep in mind that it is not illegal to record conversations you have with another, nor is it illegal to access data to which you have consent to view (the password). For instance, do you have an IP camera in your living room for security? An IP camera in your living room would be a great example of usable digital discovery.
Even if you believe your spouse is a terrible person, you should resist the temptation to snoop on him or her. Instead, one of the best things you can do is speak with an experienced divorce lawyer in Grand Rapids who can help you understand what actions are OK and what actions will get you in trouble with the law. Don’t jeopardize your divorce settlement by taking matters into your own hands. Contact a lawyer first.