At Crocker & Carter we see divorce cases where evidence exists on a growing list of apps and gadgets. Emails, texts, phone records, Facebook, etc., often leave digital trails that can be used against a cheating spouse.
Getting digital evidence is best summed up by a common Facebook phrase, “It’s complicated.” You cannot, without permission, access your spouse’s computer, email, tablet or phone to collect evidence. State and federal laws prohibit unauthorized access to electronically stored or transmitted information. With few exceptions, if you do not have permission to access it, then it is illegal to access it.
The attorneys at Crocker & Carter have worked on cases where recording devices were hidden in a cheating spouse’s car or bedroom. The spouse that hid the recording device hoped to secretly record the cheating spouse talking to a lover. That is illegal in Tennessee. You can only record a phone or in-person conversation when a party to that conversation consents to the recording.
Emails & Texts
Cheating spouses often use email to communicate. It is illegal to hack into or guess the password of another person’s email account. There are many apps and computer programs that intercept emails or text messages, but using those apps and programs is risky. It is illegal to intercept a message not meant for your eyes.
Crocker & Carter’s divorce attorneys have handled cases where a spouse installed a GPS tracker on the cheating spouse’s vehicle. In Tennessee it is a crime to install a GPS tracking device on a vehicle without consent of all the owners. In divorce law, as a general rule, spouses jointly own any property acquired during their marriage. So even if a vehicle is titled in one spouse’s name, both spouses are the owners.
Don’t Risk It
Snooping, hacking and tracking is not worth risk. Evidence collected by those methods would likely be thrown out of your case, and you could face criminal prosecution for violating the law.
Do these laws mean that you cannot get the evidence needed to use against a cheating spouse in a divorce case? No. When a divorce is filed, by law, no one can delete or conceal evidence, including digital evidence. Crocker & Carter’s attorneys will demand to be given any information or device that might lead to the discovery of evidence to use in your case. Even “deleted” evidence is often recoverable. If the cheating spouse does not cooperate, our attorneys can seek a court order requiring the cheating spouse to comply or face jail-time.
Crocker & Carter’s attorneys are experienced with divorce cases involving cheating spouses and digital evidence. Do not risk violating the law to get evidence for your case. We have the skills to acquire, preserve and present the evidence you need. Please contact us if we can help.
— Ryan L. Hall