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Can you legally spy on your spouse?

You have the faint feeling that your spouse might be cheating on you. Would it be so wrong to take a look at last night's late text messages that he was sending to his "friend?" What happens if you find something is wrong? Can you collect that evidence for your divorce?

Spying on your spouse is a somewhat gray area in law. There are times when tracking what your spouse does or is saying is legal, and there are times when you could be breaking the law.

Some spy apps simply aren't legal, and if they are, they walk a fine line. For example, spyware and keyloggers that you install on your spouse's computer could be illegal, especially if that is his specific electronic device that you do not use. For example, a work computer might not be community property under law the way a home computer would be.

Federal law makes it a criminal act to look at another person's private online accounts unless that person already expected to share that account with you. For instance, if your spouse gave you his password, then you should be able to support your claim that the computer and account was community property and that you had a right to access what was in it.

If you want to collect evidence from your spouse's phone, tablet, computer or other devices, you may want to consult your attorney first. If the evidence is collected in the wrong manner, you could get yourself into trouble and have evidence that is not admissible in court.

Source: Divorce Mag, "Should You Use an App to Spy on Your Cheating Spouse?," Mary Fetzer, accessed May 10, 2017

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