If you believe your spouse is committing adultery and you want to file for divorce in Georgia, you may need to gather and present evidence of your spouse’s adulterous behavior. However, there is a fine line to walk between gathering evidence and spying on your spouse during divorce in Gwinnett County, and going about it the wrong way could render your proof inadmissible – or worse – get you in trouble with the law.
Before you start collecting evidence of your spouse’s infidelity, you should familiarize yourself with both federal and Georgia state laws regarding spying on your spouse.
Federal and Georgia State Laws for Common Types of Spying
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) is a set of federal laws that prohibits certain types of electronic spying on others. The laws prohibit anyone from intercepting any wire or oral communication through the use of an electronic or mechanical device. This means you cannot use a wiretap or any “hacking” methods to spy on your spouse’s phone calls, emails, texts, or video chats. It also prohibits you from recording or videotaping any private conversations between your spouse and anyone else.
Georgia also has several state laws regarding spying. Georgia Code § 16-9-152 “Spyware, browsers, hijacks, and other software prohibited” governs the misuse of computer software used for spying on others. This “spyware” can come in many forms, such as keystroke loggers that record everything typed on a computer. Other acts prohibited by this statute include recording the browser history of your spouse and disabling any anti-spyware programs to gain access to protected files.
Georgia Code § 16-11-62 “Unlawful eavesdropping or surveillance” prohibits acting in a clandestine manner to overhear or record another’s private conversation. Under this law, you cannot record the activities of your spouse while he is in a private place.
An exception to this law is if your spouse is on property that you own and is caught on a surveillance camera that was set up for security purposes, and your spouse was aware that the camera existed. Note: This does not mean you can set up a camera inside or outside your house strictly to record your spouse’s adulterous behavior.
Hiring a Private Investigator to Obtain Proof of Adultery
While federal and state laws prohibit the average person from spying on their spouse, a licensed private investigator may have more leeway when it comes to gathering evidence of adultery. A reputable Georgia private investigator should have a license, liability insurance, and a clean reputation.
A private investigator can more easily obtain proof that your spouse is cheating and will be able to submit this proof as admissible evidence in a Georgia divorce court. It is in your best interest to discuss the need to hire a private investigator with your attorney first because it may be best for the law firm to hire the investigator.
This is because the law firm most likely has experience working with private investigators and your attorney will be able to evaluate the investigator’s findings before you submit them to the court, ensuring that only pertinent details make it before the judge.
Play it Safe When Spying on Your Spouse During Divorce in Gwinnett County
Do not put your own future at risk by trying to collect evidence of your spouse’s adultery illegally. Leave the spying on your spouse to professionals like private investigators. For more help with gathering evidence of adultery and how cheating can affect your divorce case, talk to a contested divorce attorney at the Ward Law Firm. Call 770-383-1973 or fill out our contact form to schedule your REAL Case Analysis to discuss your divorce case.