During your divorce, you may start to feel as though your spouse is acting suspicious or concealing certain items from you. Many shrug this feeling off while others seek out the assistance of a private investigator to unravel the possible story behind a spouse’s actions. If you are worried your spouse may be hiding certain assets, engaged in an extramarital affair, or is engaged in any form of misconduct, discuss your concerns with your Florida Divorce Attorney, and your intention of hiring a private investigator.
It is extremely important to note the legal boundaries of private investigation and ensure that you, or the individual you employ follows the law. If you are found to be in violation of a privacy or criminal law, you may face criminal proceedings. Further, if you or your private investigator obtain any evidence through illegal means, you will not be able to present this evidence to the court, even if relevant to your case.
Therefore, it is important to stick to the boundaries of the law. For instance, electronic communication between you and your spouse is fair and admissible in court. Whether the communication occurred over email or text message, this data may be saved or pulled from the provider and presented to the court. Further, any public posts on social media are also legally obtainable. All fall within proper public access and can be presented as evidence in court. A lot of data can be revealed through these electronic means and do not require a subpoena or any legal intervention, as you have full access to this information.
In contrast, wiretapping, eavesdropping, or hacking into personal accounts is illegal. For instance, if you have access to your spouse’s computer during the divorce process and look through their personal files, emails, or data searches, these actions are illegal under Florida law and you can be criminally prosecuted. Further, the information you may obtain may be excluded in your divorce proceedings. For example, in the case of O’Brien v. O’Brien the wife was suspicious of husband’s extramarital activities and installed a spyware device on to husband’s computer that allowed her access to his personal emails. Through this software, the wife gained evidence of husband’s affair and wished to present copies of these emails to the court. The court refused to accept these emails into evidence due to the fact that such evidence was obtained illegally.
However, there are ways that investigators may aid your case and gather a great deal of evidence to provide to the court. Private investigators are typically skilled in scanning through documents, seeking out prior criminal convictions, or speaking to individuals who may have information regarding your spouse. For instance, if you provide an investigator with bank account information or financial documents that you have personal rights and access to, they may be able to find discrepancies and discover the possibility of your spouse hiding assets. Further, a private investigator may follow your spouse to determine their whereabouts and reveal an affair or illegal activity that your spouse may be engaged in.
Although an investigator may be able to reveal a great deal of information, it is crucial that only legal tactics are used and you discuss this approach with your Florida Divorce Attorney to ensure the evidence you are seeking is relevant to your case. Your Florida Divorce Attorney will protect you during this process and ensure all evidence necessary to prove your case is revealed.
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