Spousal Spying

Is spying on a spouse legal in Utah?

Certain kinds, yes.

Can my spouse use the information from their surveillance against me? Oh yes.

Are certain kinds of secret surveillance of your spouse illegal?  Yes to that too.

Can private investigators conduct surveillance legally that a spouse cannot? Yes. Private investigators have access to several information sources not legally or easily available to the general public. As importantly, they have the training, experience, and credentials needed to turn raw data into admissible evidence. They won’t gather any evidence illegally which could undermine a divorce case, and they will provide very detailed reports that will help the attorney present a thorough case in court.

Often, a husband or wife who suspects a spouse is cheating hires the private investigator. This is usually a mistake because there are rules about confidentiality and privilege in Utah, so the information is often better protected if the attorney hires the P.I. on behalf of the client. When the contract is between the attorney and the investigator, any material created in preparation for trial may be protected from discovery by the opposing party as “attorney work product.”

Whether you can or want to gather evidence against your spouse on your own or enlist the help of a private investigator, remember that evidence obtained illegally rarely, if ever, will be accepted by the divorce court, and will likely undermine your case and/or result in criminal action against you!

So before you start spying or have someone do it for you, for heaven’s sake learn what is and is not permissible. Learn how to conduct surveillance legally and effectively. Learn about what is and isn’t legal when it comes to video recording (do you need to record with or without sound?). Find out what wiretapping is—it’s far more broadly defined than you think. Find out what kind of computer and Internet monitoring is legal and what isn’t. Learn about the right and wrong way to use GPS tracking devices in cars and phones and luggage.

Learn how to protect yourself against spousal spying too. Look around your house, your office, your car. Has anything been changed? Is anything out of place? Any recent modifications? Anything new? These are all warning signs if you see them coming. If your spouse suddenly takes a keen interest in “servicing” the computer or spending more time on it, that’s a red flag. And if you notice your computer functioning differently, more slowly, that’s a cause for concern. Protect your mobile phone. Have it scanned for apps and software you didn’t install. If you’re not password protecting your phone now, start. If you hear echoes or clicks or scratches on the line, you may be monitored.

If weird coincidences start occurring, if you’ve got people showing up or calling you at odd times, if your spouse or others seem to know your plans, and where you’ve been, or someone let’s something slip in conversation, that too could mean you’re being monitored.

Finally, make sure you don’t destroy evidence that by law you are required to preserve. Erasing your emails or Facebook history can raise suspicions and usually doesn’t work, if you’re trying to bury your past.

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