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Wife accuses husband of spying on her prior to divorce

In our previous Las Vegas family law blog post, we discussed the technological advances that are making child custody and other family law issues easier, by allowing parents to better communicate with one another.

Today, we will discuss another issue revolving around new technologies: spouses who are using hidden cameras and computer software to spy on one another. According to the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a nationwide coalition of divorce attorneys, this practice is growing increasingly common in households across the country, and it is causing serious issues in those marriages in which it is taking place.

For example, one woman has filed a federal lawsuit against her ex-husband, alleging that he violated her privacy as well as federal wiretapping laws by monitoring her against her knowledge. In her suit, she states that her husband had installed hidden cameras and microphones to record her movements and conversations, as well as “web watcher” software to copy her emails and instant messages.

It was only by filing for divorce that the woman learned of her husband’s monitoring. In his family court filings, the husband stated that he had evidence which portrayed his wife in “unflattering, embarrassing and private settings.” He reportedly hoped to use that footage to force her into a divorce settlement that was more favorable to him. However, the judge presiding over their divorce case threw out the secretly obtained recordings, finding that they were obtained by “illegal means.”

The woman’s lawsuit, however, remains unresolved, and it is not yet clear what the outcome will be. Federal wiretapping laws are largely out-of-date and do not discuss new technology, so it remains to be seen whether they are even applicable to the case.

Source: Cincinnati Enquirer, “Scary creeps or just frustrated people?” Dan Horn, Sept. 12, 2012

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