Divorces can be messy, and sometimes your ex might do things that you never thought they would even consider. Other times, you knew that your spouse was capable of doing some rather rotten things, such as spying on you. They might be doing this to try to make you look bad in the divorce, or they might do it because they are stalking you. Regardless of their reasons, spousal spying is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. You need to be able to protect your privacy in family law cases.
There can be legitimate and illegitimate reasons to collect information from the other spouse. However, there are still privacy expectations and laws.
Spouses Use Countless Methods of Spying on Their Ex
Consider some of the ways that your ex might try to spy on you or invade your privacy. In some cases, controlling individuals might use hidden cameras, for example. They want to record what you are doing, so they can find ways to use it against you. Other means of spying include using computer and phone spyware, keystroke trackers, GPS tracking devices, voice recorders, drones, and even high-tech appliances. Unscrupulous individuals use these types of technology as a means to monitor your behavior and activity.
It is important to keep in mind that there are federal and state laws that prevent certain types of spying. The person who is doing the spying could potentially face criminal and civil liability if they are not careful. Here are some steps to take if you’ve ever had to ask yourself “Is my ex spying on me?”.
What Should You Do?
If you worry that your ex might be spying on you for one reason or another, you will want to keep yourself safe and your life private. Let’s look at some of the best practices that you will want to use.
Change Your Passwords
The first thing you will want to do is change all of your passwords. This includes the passwords for your bank account, your online shopping accounts, social media, credit cards, streaming services, the password to your computer, email, etc. Change every password that you have regardless of how innocuous the account might be. Even if you don’t think your ex has the passwords, it’s better to change them now rather than being surprised later.
Additionally, be careful about the new passwords that you choose. Another overlooked method of spousal spying; never use a password that could be easy for your ex to guess. This means that you shouldn’t use your or your kid’s birthday, name, maiden name, etc. in the passwords. Ideally, you will use hard to unravel passwords. There are software options that you can use that will generate complex passwords and store them for you.
However, make sure that your ex can’t get into your computer or phone if you have accounts that will automatically fill in your password when you visit the site. Be sure to log out of everything—you don’t want to give them easy access.
Get a Different Phone and Email Account for Communication with Your Attorney
If your ex does have access to your phone and/or computer, you will need to be careful with the information that you store there. You don’t want them to be able to access your call records or your emails, particularly those that are to and from your attorney. If they don’t know that you are going to file for divorce, and they find out by spying on you, it could lead to problems. In some cases, it might even put you in danger.
Therefore, consider getting a go-phone and a different email account that you use specifically for communication with your attorney.
What About Social Media Usage?
Each situation is different, but in some cases, the attorney might suggest that you “go dark” on your social media accounts when you are going through your divorce. This is because you might say things on those accounts that you don’t want to be known by your ex. You might forget that you shouldn’t post some piece of information, for example. Also, even if you have your ex blocked, it doesn’t mean that they won’t see it. They could have a false account that follows you, or they could have friends or family members that report back to them. Just as in military reconnaissance, spousal spying can also involve multiple people conducting surveillance.
When you are using your phone and social media, always monitor your location and privacy settings. You do not want to announce to your ex or anyone else where you are located at different times. It makes stalking too easy for controlling and abusive exes.
Get Your Devices Checked
You should also consider taking your phone, computer, and other devices to a professional to have them checked for any software that could be used for spying on you. They can clean and wipe the devices to ensure they are safe to use.
You should also be careful of any new items or gifts that come into the home, including those that are given to your children. There have been teddy bear cams that have been used in divorce cases in the past.
Inspect Your Car
GPS trackers can easily be added to a vehicle, and you might not even know it’s there. You should check out and inspect your vehicle to look for any strange devices that might have been planted there by your ex. You will want to remove them and contact the authorities.
Change Your Locks
If you are staying in your marital home and your ex has moved out, change the locks and change the security code. This will reduce the risk of them coming back into the home whether it’s to harm you or to place a hidden camera.
Get in Touch with an Attorney
When you are going through a divorce, whether it is contentious and you are worried about your privacy or not, you always want to be sure you have a great attorney on your side. Whether it’s to protect you from something like abusive behavior or spousal spying, the lawyer can help you and provide you with advice as you are going through your divorce. They have your best interests in mind and will have the experience to help you through the rough situations you are facing.