Advances in technology are constantly changing how people work, play, and–unfortunately–cheat on their spouses. People often ask us what tools are available to catch a cheating spouse or what tools a spouse might be using to conceal their own infidelity. D CEO Magazine asked us how to catch a cheating spouse–or how not to get caught. Our responses are below and also appear in the April issue of D CEO Magazine.
Q: My spouse thinks I’m cheating. Are there apps or programs they can use to track me?
A: Spying and cheating are hot topics in family law. With so much personal information readily available on our smart phones, it’s easier than ever to track a suspected cheating spouse. Some apps, like Find My iPhone, will simply show a device’s location. Others are more involved. mCouple is an app that allows each partner to track the other’s GPS location, phone contacts, text message history, call log, and Facebook chats. Some apps, like mSpy, have keystroke tracking and “geo-fencing” features—they will notify you if a device crosses a boundary into an allowed or forbidden zone. If you think your spouse is deleting records to hide their activities, Dr. Fone is an app that allows you to recover an enormous range of deleted data. Computer-based programs like eBlaster and Spector Pro have advanced monitoring capabilities that record and analyze almost any computer activity imaginable, including screenshots and file transfer recording. Be careful though—if your spouse has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the device and does not consent to some of these apps, you could run afoul of anti-wiretapping laws. Be sure to contact an experienced lawyer if you are not sure what you are doing.
Q: On the reverse side, are there apps that my spouse might be using to hide his or her own infidelity?
A: Yes. For every spying app on the market, there are a handful that help frustrate prying eyes. Some are as simple as Snapchat, where you can send a picture that disappears in seven seconds. Others are disguised with a pedestrian appearance and a secret purpose. For example, Vaulty Stocks appears to be an app for tracking Wall Street; in reality, it is a secret storage vault for photos and videos. CATE, the “Call and Text Eraser,” allows you to hide call and text records for certain contacts or to delete the records with a shake of the phone. Counterintelligence? There’s an app for that, too. Nosy Trap is an app that masquerades as the phone’s home screen while covertly photographing any would-be intruder. Cyber Dust is a texting platform where the messages self-destruct after they are read. The messages are fully encrypted and are never stored on any hard drive—the app even prohibits screenshotting to protect private exchanges. Many of these apps are marketed to a broader audience, but their appeal to the cheating spouse is obvious.
Q: Can my social media posts—or those of my spouse—be used as evidence in our divorce?
A: Yes. Social media profiles are now regularly requested as electronic evidence in the discovery process. Attentive attorneys are also requesting deleted electronic data, including deleted emails and deleted social media profiles. Failure to provide this information upon request can result in stiff penalties, so always be careful about what you put on the internet. In one recent case, a husband in a divorce vented his frustrations about his wife on Facebook. After his wife saw the post through a mutual friend’s profile, she printed it and took it to the judge, who held the man in contempt of court!
Q: My spouse always handled our taxes, and I don’t know how to find our tax returns before filing for divorce. How can I get financial information without my spouse knowing?
A: The IRS now makes your tax documents available for immediate download on their website at http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript. After entering your personal information and answering several privacy questions, you can immediately access, download, and print your tax return transcripts from prior years. This can be a valuable tool to quickly get up to speed on your personal financial picture.