Crossing a Line: Spying and Stalking in Divorce Cases

The end of a marriage is a tumultuous, stressful time. Emotions run high, resulting in the desire to “dig up dirt” on a spouse in order to gain some sort of advantage in a divorce settlement, especially when there is custody or significant division of assets at stake. This is a dangerous path to tread, as it is very easy to cross the line into illegal activity.

When it comes to recording phone conversations, how you do it makes all the difference between a legal act that results in admissible evidence in divorce proceedings and a felony that could land you in jail. Both state and federal wiretapping laws are designed to protect an individual’s privacy, and they lay out very specific circumstances when you are allowed to “tap” someone. In Missouri, if you are a party to the conversation, you can record someone with or without their consent. Also, in Missouri, if you are not a party, you cannot record someone, even if the conversation occurs using your phone.

Text and email are entirely different matters that the law is still trying to clarify. Video surveillance has been somewhat addressed and is another situation wherein what is legal depends on the circumstances and your state’s laws. In some states, it is illegal to record your spouse in their home without their consent.  However, it may be legal to obtain video through a mutually-agreed-upon security system. Add GPS tracking, doxing and posting damaging information online to this mix, and things become even more complicated.

The bottom line is this: It’s imperative that you obtain legal advice before engaging in any such activities, no matter how justified and aggrieved you may feel. These are very difficult waters to navigate; doing so with the guidance of someone who understands the laws that govern these matters is the best way to protect yourself.

With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Jones Family Law Group, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. For questions or to schedule a confidential consultation, contact our team.