If you suspect your spouse is having an inappropriate relationship outside of your marriage, there are certain do’s and don’ts to follow. Understandably, when you suspect a cheating spouse, emotions run high and you could make some bad decisions. Be aware that some actions you take could even result in criminal charges being brought against you! Below are some “do’s and don’ts” if you ever find yourself in this situation:
- DON’T follow or track your spouse. If you follow or spy on your spouse, you may be charged with stalking. In addition, it may put you in a dangerous situation if an altercation occurs with your spouse or the other person in the relationship.
- DO keep a diary or log of your spouse’s activity. This will be important later when you are trying to compare your spouse’s schedule to the person in question in order to prove the relationship exists.
- DON’T break into your spouse’s computer, email, or other accounts. Believe it or not, if you access an account or computer that is not yours, you can be charged with computer crimes. Even if you access your spouse’s email account on your own computer, you can be in trouble. If they have any reasonable expectation of privacy, you could be violating both state and federal law. In addition, any evidence obtained in this manner will likely be excluded from evidence at trial.
- DO get phone records, Facebook posts, and other accessible information. If your spouse has a cell phone account connected with your account, you may want to print out the account statements and phone call details. Surprisingly, some spouses may post information about the other relationship on their Facebook account or other social media sites. If you are a “friend” on your spouse’s Facebook account, you can print the posts and photos. If one of your friends is a Facebook “friend” with your spouse, they may be able to get the information for you. However, do not break into the account or try to guess the password.
- DON’T hire a private investigator (PI) on your own. While hiring a PI can be a good move, we don’t suggest you hire a PI yourself. One of the main reasons is that any information the PI obtains may have to be turned over to the other side if a divorce action is filed. This is significant if the PI finds nothing or you are not ready to reveal your full knowledge to your spouse. Any lack of PI findings could then be used by your spouse’s attorney as evidence an inappropriate relationship doesn’t exist. You will have inadvertently helped your spouse’s case.
- DO have your attorney hire the PI. If your attorney hires the PI, you make the decision to use the PI’s information or hold it until necessary. Even if the PI finds evidence of an affair, you might decide not to disclose this information if you can reach a reasonable settlement with your spouse. This is especially true if you have children and want to protect them. Also, your attorney likely knows a PI that is experienced in the field and is a credible witness when testifying in court.
There are many other pitfalls that the innocent spouse can run into when the other spouse strays. Know the do’s and don’ts to protect yourself. Our attorneys are experienced with these situations. Contact our office if you have questions.
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