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Electronic devices are a major part of our modern lives, and we leave a trail of information in nearly everything we do, whether we are browsing the internet and sending email from our computers, communicating with others on Facebook using a tablet, or making calls and sending text messages from our smartphones. When we do so, we expect a reasonable amount of privacy, and the law provides us with protections that will ensure that private conversations and communications remain private.
During divorce, it can be tempting for one spouse to try to breach this privacy, especially if they believe the other spouse is at fault for the failure of the marriage. One spouse may attempt to log into the other’s email account, install monitoring software on their computer, or gain access to the text messages on their cell phone, all in hopes of uncovering information that may give them an advantage during divorce proceedings. However, spouses should be aware of how the law addresses these acts.
Divorce and the Illinois Eavesdropping Act
In recent years, Illinois statutes were updated to address issues surrounding police wiretapping and surveillance, but these changes also have an impact on spouses who eavesdrop on each other. Specifically, the law states that it is illegal to listen to or record a private conversation or to intercept or transcribe private electronic communications without the consent of all parties involved.
This law applies to both spoken conversations and the transmission of electronic information such as text, images, audio, or other data. It is also illegal to have a third party, such as a private detective or a friend or family member, eavesdrop on someone on a person’s behalf.
This is relevant to divorce proceedings because the law states that any evidence obtained through illegal eavesdropping is not admissible in a civil or criminal trial. If someone recorded a conversation between their spouse and another person, accessed the emails their spouse had sent or logged into their spouse’s social media accounts to track their activities, none of this evidence can be used in court. In fact, accessing this information could result in being charged with a Class 4 felony for illegal eavesdropping.
Contact a Hinsdale Divorce Lawyer
During divorce, spouses should be aware of possible security issues and take measures to protect themselves by changing their passwords on their computers, cell phones, email, and social media accounts. While it is illegal to try to access your spouse’s accounts, you can still monitor joint bank accounts and credit cards for any financial irregularities such as money being withdrawn, large charges being made, or a new account being created.
The skilled divorce attorneys of Martoccio & Martoccio understand the privacy issues that can arise during divorce, and we will ensure that your rights are being protected and advocate for you throughout the legal process. Contact a DuPage County divorce attorney at 630-920-8855 to schedule a free consultation.