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Splitting spouses are turning to digital spies during divorce


Are you splitting with your spouse?

It may not be that easy, especially if your spouse isn’t exactly happy about the prospect of dividing up the family assets — or even the idea of letting you go. You may physically leave your spouse and still remain tethered by invisible electronic ties that your spouse has installed all around you.

Feel creeped out? You and a lot of other people have good reason to be. It’s becoming increasingly common for someone to turn to technology in order to stalk or spy on a spouse that’s leaving.

The statistics tell the story. While 1.5 percent of adults in this country are victims of stalking, that figure jumps to more than double the national norm for couples in fragmented marital relationships.

If your spouse is determined to spy on you, he or she could resort to a GPS tracking device on your car. Or, he or she might just download spyware onto your smartphone. Since it probably goes where you go, your spouse can then track your location and peek into your emails, texts and phone calls all at once.

Is there any way to stop such intrusive acts? The answer depends on which one you’re talking about and what your spouse is using.

Here are some key tips to follow:

  • If you and your spouse jointly own your car, get it out of your spouse’s name. Otherwise, your spouse has the legal right to put a GPS on it — even if you are the sole driver.
  • If you discover spyware on your phone, do not take the immediate, easier solution of swapping it out for a new one in a trade. Instead, buy a new phone and get a new number — but keep the old one. Turn it over to your attorney as evidence of the stalking. Otherwise, that evidence is gone for good.
  • If you suspect your laptop or other electronic devices are also being used to spy on you, get new ones and turn the old ones over to your attorney.

Digital stalking is illegal. Attorneys often won’t accept information obtained illegally in a divorce case. However, that may not be much comfort when you don’t feel safe.

If you’re a victim of digital stalking after you begin the process of divorce, it’s important to discuss your legal options as soon as possible.

Source: NPR, “I Know Where You’ve Been: Digital Spying And Divorce In The Smartphone Age,” Aarti Shahani, Lauren Silverman, Jan. 04, 2018

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