August 19, 2009

Law Firm Sued Over Client's Use of Spyware in a Divorce Case

You do not have to be a marital and family law attorney to know that divorces can become nasty and that people in a deteriorating relationship may not use the best judgment. Under such circumstances, spouses may act in ways that they may not act ordinarily. 

However, because they are using bad judgment does not mean that their lawyer must follow suit. However, such good judgment appeared to be allegedly lacking in a Chattanooga law firm. It was sued by a disgruntled husband for attempting to use evidence that its attorneys knew was illegally obtained through electronic interception (spyware).

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Electronic data (such as emails) is being used more and more frequently in divorce cases in Palm Beach County and around the country. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers recently surveyed over 600 family lawyers. Eighty eight per cent (88%) noted that the number of cases introducing electronic data as evidence has increased in the past five years. This electronic data includes emails, text messaging, internet browsing and other forms of electronic monitoring.

Spyware is a type of computer software used to secretly monitor someone's online activity. It is often used (legally) by parents to monitor a minor child and by employers, who inform their employees that their online activity is being watched. When spyware is used without someone's knowledge, then trouble can occur as it did in this case.

Although the husband in the above case has dropped the law suit against the attorneys, he has joined them as defendants in the pending divorce litigation. We do not know yet what will happen to these Tennessee attorneys. In any event, we can safely state that in Florida that spyware, which has been surreptitiously installed on the computer and has been used by one spouse to intercept and copy the electronic communications (email) as they are being transmitted, are a violation of Florida's wiretapping law and would not be admissible as evidence in the divorce case. Simply put, hacking into someone's emails in this fashion violates state and federal law.

To learn more about these unwise lawyers, please click here.


Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss divorce in Florida, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A.The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561-478-0312.


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