July 2,2021


Goodman Law Firm

Digital Spying and Divorce

HomeBlogDivorceDigital Spying and Divorce

Technology is everywhere. Those who read this likely have many different tools of technology near them at this moment. We rely on technology for nearly everything these days; keeping in touch with friends, family, clients, remotely adjusting the thermostat, watching the last episode of a favorite show while on the go, and tracking health. 

In recent years, some spouses have started using it to keep tabs on their spouses or ex-spouses. While many who take this step just want to protect themselves and have their divorce settled favorably, others take it too far and may aim to hurt their spouse using the information they access. Technology is constantly changing, making it difficult, if not impossible, for laws to keep up with it. If you are considering digitally spying on your soon-to-be ex-spouse or think you are the spouse being spied on, don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a reputable Illinois divorce attorney.

The Gray Area of Digital Spying in Divorce

How much digital privacy are divorcing spouses entitled to? There seems to be no hard and fast answer. As usual, technology is advancing at a much quicker rate than the laws that govern it. The current laws in place that might apply aren’t clear-cut. 

Under some circumstances, spying is illegal. However, in others, it’s not technically spying nor illegal. For instance, if a car is jointly owned, it is the legal property of both spouses. As such, it could be argued that the spouse has the right to track the vehicle, even if it’s driven solely by the other spouse. Cell phones and cell phone plans also make for gray areas of the law. Whether the plan is in the individual’s name or in both spouses’ names can determine if digital spying is legal or not. 

Laws Addressing Digital Spying

Illinois state laws apply in these situations as well as, there are federal civil and criminal liabilities for digital spying and tracking. These include:

  • The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) which applies to oral, wire, and electronic communications while they are being made, in transit, and when stored on an electronic device such as a tablet, phone, or computer. Intentional interception or unauthorized access to communications is also covered by this law, as is recording a spouse’s private conversations.
  • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act concerns hacking. Intentionally accessing a computer without authorization or permission is illegal under this law.

Suppose you are thinking about digitally spying on your spouse, or have already done so. In that case, it’s best to speak to an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer. Depending on the specific circumstances, they may advise you to stop, or they may be able to use any evidence collected to help your case.

Meet with a Knowledgeable Illinois Divorce Attorney Today

With digital spying and divorce being so ambiguous, it’s in your best interest to meet with a skilled Illinois divorce lawyer to discuss its potential ramifications in your case. You don’t want to put yourself at risk of doing anything illegal, but you also want to do what you can to support yourself in this process. At the Goodman Law Firm, we understand the quandaries these and other issues might put you in. We can assess the specifics of your case to determine ways to reach a favorable outcome in your divorce. To schedule a private divorce consultation, contact us today.


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