I think my spouse is cheating. Is it a crime to spy on them?

September 30, 2014 | By Robert I Whitelaw

Unexplained absences, secretive phone calls, late nights at the office – all telltale signs that your spouse may be up to no good. With advances in technology it has become easier and easier for suspicious spouses to snoop on their spouses activities and whereabouts. However, spies beware! In Pennsylvania, criminal wiretapping laws prohibit the interception of any wire, electronic or oral communications. It is a criminal act to tape a telephone conversation without the permission of the other party or use computer keystroke software that record incoming and/or outgoing email messages. Furthermore, is proof of infidelity even relevant in a divorce case?  Before the Pennsylvania Divorce Code was revised to include no-fault divorce law, an unhappy spouse would have to prove to the court grounds for divorce, such as desertion, indignities, cruel and barbarous treatment and adultery. However, today, most divorce cases filed in Pennsylvania are considered no-fault divorces filed upon the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or two years of separation. So before you stick a GPS transmitter on your wife’s car or hack into your husband’s email account, keep in mind that wiretapping is a third degree felony in Pennsylvania and the evidence that you gather to confirm your suspicions may not be admissible in court if it was illegally acquired. Consulting with a divorce lawyer is a better way to deal with suspicions of infidelity rather than facing the penalties that may arise from spying on a spouse.

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About the Authors

Bob Whitelaw

Robert I Whitelaw

Partner

Bob is the co-chairman of the Family Law department and the Litigation department of Obermayer. He was the firm’s managing partner for 30 years and is still a member of the firm’s...

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