Divorce makes married people do amazing things to one another. In many cases, spouses both realize that a relationship is broken and need to move forward. Some cases, however, present where one spouse is blissfully unaware that the other spouse is having an affair or hiding assets. That is, of course, until reality strikes and the truth comes out.
In those situations, many unaware spouses begin to go down a path to uncover the entire truth. Soon, the possibility of hacking emails, hiring private investigators, and following your spouse on social media becomes a temptation few are able to ignore. But is it worth it?
For many spouses, so long as they do not break privacy laws, this is a short lived exercise where they try to find out information that they do not already know, and quickly realize that they have the facts, or that information has been so blocked it will be impossible for them to find out the truth. Conversely, there are times where some spouses flaunt their new paramour on social media or around the children, already fueling the fires of resentment and pushing the drive for more information to its apex.
The only question you should ask yourself before heading down this path is: “Is it worth it?” Many times, client will ask if they should try to get information for court, and the answer is always the same, “how will it help your case?” In cases of infidelity, under Florida law, this is only relevant if your spouse was spending marital assets on a new lover or engaging in inappropriate conduct in front of your children. For most people, this answer proves that snooping on your spouse will not result in evidence that can be used at trial, so the majority of spouses stop there. It’s not just the waste of time and money that you can be exerting on this endeavor, but it’s also the emotional strain that you are putting on yourself, but continuing to pick at the scab of your relationship over and over again. Moving on in a healthy way is the best advice that we give our clients, and if there is investigative work to be done, rely on your experienced family law attorney to direct you in those scenarios.
When a client answers my “how will it help?” question with “it won’t, i just want to know,” then I know that this is not really about proving that their spouse was hiding assets or having an affair, it is far more about the pain that the client is feeling. In those cases, I recommend that a client works with a therapist to move past their resentment, focus on their children and future, and start making positive steps to progress.
Clients can find themselves in dangerous territory if they start to break privacy laws like: hacking emails, recording their spouse without their knowing, following their spouse, or spreading their private details publicly. Some of these carry criminal penalties, but none of them are acts that the courts look fondly on. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney about how to approach your secretive spouse’s misdeeds is key to developing an case strategy to get your best result in court.
Since 1957, the family law attorneys at Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. have represented clients in a wide variety of family law cases including those detailing with alimony, child support, divorce, property distribution, custody, visitation, out-of-state relocations, and other matters. The book titled – Florida Family Law – Enforcing Your Legal Rights and Rebuilding Your Life – is available for free. You can get this book at Florida Family Law Book.