IS MY SPOUSE SPYING ON ME?
The reality of your spouse spying on you during the divorce process is real, and happens more than you might think. We put together some real world examples of things your spouse may do to spy on you, and steps you can take to mitigate those risks. These steps will help you best position yourself as you move through your Divorce, and with the proper help your spouse’s actions may even benefit you in the end.
Is my spouse spying on me, and why?
This is a great question, and one that folks contemplating divorce, or in the divorce process, ask all the time. There are any number of ways your spouse can spy on your, and we’ll address a few of the most common ways here.
As far as why, well that’s because your spouse could use this evidence in court against you, but lets talk about a few common spying methods, and we’ll pick back up with why at the end of the article.
Copying or forwarding your emails.
A super obvious, and all too common spying method, is to simply browse through your email. If your spouse gains access to your email they could see your conversations with friends, family, or your lawyer. Obviously, this is something you want to avoid. This tip, and its solution, applies not just to email, but Facebook, Twitter, and any other site you may use for communication with others.
“So, how do I keep my spouse OUT of my email?”
Luckily the solution to this problem is fairly simple. Change your password, and make it a strong password. What does ‘strong password’ mean? It means that you don’t use your dog’s name, your birthday, your kid’s birthday, your spouse’s birthday, or anything else that’s obvious, as your password. A fantastic program called LastPass will generate ‘strong passwords’ for you and keep track of them for all your websites. A tool like this is useful not just during divorce, but is smart to use in light of the all too common and frequent data breaches at big companies.
Once you have LastPass, start generating secure passwords, and are comfortable with that process you should take the next step which is two factor authentication, but we’ll leave discussion of that for another day.
Bottomline, change your passwords, and make them hard to guess.
Check your car for GPS trackers.
A common way your spouse will track your whereabouts is to put a GPS on your car. These devices will allow your spouse to track your location All. The. Time. It may be useful to your spouse to know what you do when you say you’re headed to work, the gym, or out with friends. Once they have a pattern of your behavior it is easier and cheaper to hire a private investigator (PI) to put eyes on you, and see what’s going on when you say your at the gym, but actually in a neighborhood across town.
To counter this method of surveillance you should check your car for a GPS. It’s best to hire a professional to check the car for you, and help you, along with your lawyer, decide what to do if you find a device. We may be able to use this surveillance to our advantage.
Keep in mind that a GPS on your car isn’t the only way your spouse can track you. Modern smartphones contain GPS devices, and there are several programs that your spouse could use to track you through the phone. Make sure you read the rest of our tips to learn more about how to mitigate risks related to these devices.
Even if there is no GPS on your car that doesn’t mean your spouse hasn’t hired someone to follow you, or isn’t following you personally. A good private investigator will be able to help you figure if you have a tail. I know, I know, at first blush it may sound a bit odd to hire someone to follow you to find out whether someone is following you, but it is useful.
Again, once you know what your spouse is up to then we may be able to use it to our advantage.
Check your phone and computer for spyware.
There are a myriad of programs your spouse could use to spy on you through your phone and computer. Similar to your email, your best defense against this is to use strong passwords to secure your devices. If your spouse has spyware on your phone or computer then they may have access to everything you do on the device from email, to text messages, to Facebook, and any passwords you type in your phone. Obviously, this is bad news if there is an imminent separation, or you are already separated and are in the middle of negotiating a settlement.
If you’ve not used strong passwords in the past, or you think your spouse may have spyware on your devices, then you should hire a professional to check all your electronics for spyware. Once everything checks out, or is cleaned up, then start using strong passwords to mitigate the risk as you move forward.
Cameras? In my house?!?!
Availability of wi-fi connected cameras exploded over the past couple years, and your spouse could definitely use them against you in the Divorce. In addition to traditional wi-fi surveillance cameras there is a proliferation of ‘spy’ cameras available that look like iPhone chargers, smoke detectors, etc. One tool you can use to try to counter the threat of connected cameras is a program called Fing. Fing allows you to see all the devices connected to your wireless network. This program is not a catch-all because many cameras just store their finds on a memory card, and do not show up on your wireless network.
To find well hidden cameras you’ll likely need the help of a PI. PI’s have experience with surveillance techniques, the technology commonly employed, and the best ways to counter these threats. Again, as is the case with GPS trackers, if you find something don’t immediately remove it. Speak to your lawyer about how to best handle the discovery.
Why would my spouse spy on me?
Short answer: to use their finds against you in court. If you are having an affair then that could be used as evidence in an alimony case. Lets say you go out to a bar and drive intoxicated or recklessly then your spouse can use that against you in child custody. What if the PI catches you at a nice dinner and hotel with your paramour? Well, then they could argue money spent on the paramour is marital waste as part of your property division case. These are just a few examples for the use of information gleaned from surveillance. There are a myriad of others.
What should I do now?
This is just the beginning, but you’ve taken the first step: Education. We know you may be overwhelmed, but together we will develop a plan that fits your situation, and addresses your specific concerns.
Do you have more questions? Read more about many Divorce topics.