Everyone has the right to privacy, even within a marriage. This means your spouse does not have the right to spy on your private email, texts, conversations. Typically, this isn’t an issue that ever comes up in a marriage.
However, during times of marital stress, separation or divorce, one spouse may decide to take matters into their own hands and make the decision to spy on the other spouse under the auspices of “collecting information,” or simply pure jealousy. Not only is this against the law, it can put the other spouse in a state of anxiety and make it difficult – or even impossible – to contact their attorney.
And, unfortunately, with new apps coming out every day, spying on someone has never been easier.
Why is my spouse spying on me?
There are many reasons your spouse might be spying on you – some valid, some not. Your spouse might be overly controlling or insecure. They might suspect you’re having an affair, or perhaps they’re having an affair and are projecting their behavior back on you. In some cases, they might be attempting to gather evidence against you for a custody battle.
Regardless, your marriage is in trouble and you need to take action.
Signs your spouse is spying on you
It’s possible you’re reading this right now because you know your spouse is keeping tabs on you. Or you suspect something but you’re not sure. Maybe you just feel like something isn’t right – perhaps you’ve noticed your emails are marked read but you hadn’t read them yet. Or your spouse has mentioned things you don’t remember telling them.
Following are some indications that your spouse may be snooping in your private matters.
- Your cellphone is acting strangely – your battery begins draining faster, or your data usage suddenly increases. This can be a sign that spyware was installed on the phone.
- The settings on your phone changed and you didn’t do it.
- Messages and emails are marked as read that you haven’t read.
- New programs or apps are installed on your phone, computer, or tablet.
- Finding a video camera in your house (like a “nanny cam”).
- Your spouse installed a GPS in your vehicle.
- Friends or loved ones report receiving texts or emails that you didn’t send.
- You feel like you’re being followed, or your spouse knows where you’ve been even though you didn’t tell them.
Other ways spouses may quietly snoop through other spouse’s phones and tablets is through bypassing spyware entirely and going straight to the cloud. If your spouse knows your password to your iCloud or Google account, they can monitor your account remotely. You should also be aware that your tablet may mirror your emails and text messages, so it should always be on your person or password-protected.
How do I protect myself if I think my spouse is spying on me?
If you believe your spouse is spying on you, it’s vital to take action to protect yourself. If you and your spouse currently live together, gather your important and private documents (passports, etc.) and put them in a safe place or with loved ones.
Change the passwords on every single one of your electronic accounts (phone, email, social media, computer, tablet) with unique, obscure passwords. Ensure these are passwords your spouse won’t guess – don’t use birthdays, pet’s names, or children’s names. If you believe your spouse installed spyware or keystroke loggers on your phone, consider bringing your phone to a professional to back up your information and have a factory reset performed to wipe out any installed programs. An attorney can also take screenshots to preserve and prove spyware was installed on your devices.
If your spouse owns your phone and pays the bill, consider purchasing your own phone so your spouse does not have access to the bills and cell phone records. An attorney may be able to assist you with this as well. If this is not possible, you can install programs that will encrypt your email and text messages to bypass any keystroke loggers installed on your cellphone. Find out more about encrypted messaging.
Refrain from posting anything regarding your spouse, your difficulties, and your marriage on social media. Even if your spouse can’t see your social media posts, a mutual friend or acquaintance may share that information with them. You could also be making an exhibit for an eventual trial.
If you feel you are in imminent danger, a lawyer can also assist you with a protective order.
Is it legal for my spouse to spy on me in Maryland?
Both state law and federal law prohibit certain types of surveillance. The Maryland Wiretap Act and Maryland Stored Wire Act are criminal statutes, and a person can face criminal penalties for violating these laws. For example, it’s illegal for an individual to record a phone call without the other party’s consent, or guessing their spouse’s password to gain access to their email account.
If you believe your spouse is spying on you, change your passwords and contact an attorney through a secure means of communication – someone else’s phone or a public computer. The Rockville divorce attorneys at McCabe Russell, P.A. can provide informed guidance from there. For compassionate support, call 443-917-3347, or feel free to reach out to us through our contact form. We also maintain offices in Fulton, Columbia, and Bethesda.
At McCabe Russell, PA, we have an established reputation as assertive and confident negotiators and litigators, offering legal guidance designed to eliminate any of our clients’ worries and confusion. We are experienced family law attorneys in Howard and Montgomery County, but we serve clients throughout Maryland. Read more about McCabe Russell, PA.