For many people, trust is the cornerstone of any solid and healthy relationship. When a person has a reason to suspect his or her spouse is doing something that violates the trust of their relationship, he or she may consider spying. A person may want to spy on his or her spouse if there is suspicion of infidelity or other illicit behavior. Regardless of the reason, it is important to understand the ramifications of spousal spying as some methods of spying can be considered illegal.  

There are many ways to spy on a spouse. Some of the most common are wiretapping, listening in on phone calls, accessing text messages without permission, and/or installing spyware on a smartphone or computer. 

During a separation or divorce, a person’s first instinct may be to gather information on the suspected wrongdoings of his or her spouse by any means necessary. While most people may think this can help a case, it could actually end up hurting it if the information is obtained illegally. Oftentimes, information collected from secretly spying on a spouse is not considered admissible evidence in a divorce proceeding. Consulting with a family law attorney before attempting to spy on your spouse could keep you from making a mistake and/or damaging your case.

There are both federal laws and state laws that address spousal spying. It is important to understand these laws if you are considering spying on your spouse. 

The Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act prohibits the installation of spyware on cell phones, computers, or recording phone calls without the consent of at least one person that is participating in the phone call. If found guilty, a person could face fines or even time in prison.

The North Carolina Electronic Surveillance Act prohibits the interception of electronic, oral, or wire communications. Anyone found in violation of this law could be found guilty of a Class H Felony and could face fines. A judge could also require you to pay damages that may include your spouse’s legal fees.

The federal and state laws surrounding secret surveillance can seem very complicated and full of gray areas. Because of this, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney if you feel that you have reason to spy on your spouse. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. The attorneys at HLG are here to help.