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Obtaining Evidence of a Cheating Spouse in the Digital Age

Our experienced Santa Rosa divorce attorneys often explain that the standard issues that arise in a divorce proceeding relate to child custody and marital asset division. Also, it is not unusual to deal with issues of cheating during a divorce proceeding. “Cheating” can refer to many different things in this context, from extramarital affairs or “hidden” assets. In today’s digital age, it is not difficult to uncover a spouse’s possible cheating behavior, no matter what form it takes.

Given the various methods available on the Internet, smart phones and other investigatory portals, it is relatively simple for any individual to obtain sensitive records that could bring to light unflattering facts of the targeted person being investigated. These accessible modes of investigation tempt suspicious individuals, especially those in the midst of a divorce, to conduct informal detective work with the objective of uncovering cheating behavior.

However, prior to conducting such an investigation, it is vital for an individual to determine whether it is legal to find evidence of cheating behavior in this particular manner.

There are potential dangers of spying on a spouse via his/her digital life. It is possible to overstep the boundaries of privacy by obtaining information through informal digital investigations. If the boundaries have been violated, then the information obtained through such intrusive means cannot be introduced into the courtroom as legally obtained evidence. There have been instances where individuals have installed spyware software into their spouses’ computer with the intention of analyzing their every keystroke on the computer. Whether such practice is legal depends on the shared status of the computer. If the computer is shared by both spouses, then installing such spyware is deemed to be legally sound in most cases. However, it appears that California courts are inclined to deem such investigatory behavior as illegal if the computer is exclusively used by one spouse and is protected by passwords. Google.jpg

Suspicious individuals in the midst of divorce proceedings are not the only ones resorting to these methods. In today’s technologically advanced age, it is becoming common practice for divorce attorneys to use “advanced research tools” to sort through digital evidence in preparation for divorce cases.

Due to this relatively new practice of evidence collection via digital portals, laws regarding this subject matter have not yet been established. Therefore, it is imperative for an individual going through a divorce to seek the advice of an attorney in order to gauge whether or not he/she is within the legal bounds in terms of uncovering unsavory details regarding his/her spouse. Introducing evidence obtained illegally could not only put an individual in jail, but it could also put the individual in an unfavorable light with the judge of the divorce proceeding. Our Santa Rosa divorce attorneys will ensure that an individual in the midst of a divorce will not obtain evidence through illegal means.

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