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Digital spying can be a new threat during divorce

The era of smartphones, social media and other technological advances can change the way that Kentucky couples think about and plan for divorce. Concerns about rumors, hacking, catfishing or the use of screenshots in court are common in media reporting and advice columns. These concerns can be even stronger when the reason for the end of the marriage involved controlling behaviors or other kinds of abuse, especially as devices like GPS trackers and technologies like smartphone apps can make electronic spying and stalking a reality with relative ease.

Divorcing partners may resort to digital spying in an attempt to prove that their side of the story is justified, no matter how little impact extramarital relationships or other matters may have on a final divorce settlement. On other occasions, it can simply be an extended perpetuation of ongoing controlling behavior inside the marriage. A number of people going through a divorce have discovered suspicious spyware and other malware installed on their computers or smartphones, including GPS tracking software and keyloggers.

In other cases, technologies like Find My iPhone that had once been consensually enabled can be used during the divorce to track a former partner's movements and even lead to harassment or physical confrontations. People have even discovered GPS tracking devices attached to their cars and on many occasions are left with little legal recourse if the car remains titled in the names of both spouses prior to the finalized divorce settlement. Others seek to use apps to uncover incriminating or embarrassing behavior for an advantage in court or divorce negotiations.

Divorce lawyers have noted the use of these technologies against their clients. Some have even seen these techniques used by their clients, often prior to or against legal advice. People going through a divorce who are concerned that they are being subject to electronic surveillance should consult with a family law attorney about potential legal implications and the impact of such actions on the proceedings.

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