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Some couples may use spyware, trackers during divorce

A 2012 study by the Justice Department found that around 1.5 percent of all adults reported experiencing stalking compared to 3.3 percent of people who had gone through divorce or separation. Individuals in Virginia and throughout the country may also experience this in the form of electronic surveillance. This could include both GPS trackers and spyware installed on smartphones.

One woman experienced stalking after her ex-husband always seemed aware of her whereabouts. She was unable to locate a GPS tracker on her car, but a mechanic found one a few weeks later. She reported the tracker, but law enforcement said her ex-husband had not done anything unlawful since the car was still in his name as well. When the woman suspected spyware had been placed on her smartphone as well, a store replaced it instead of looking for the spyware, so she did not have any evidence.

Some attorneys are willing to use evidence in divorce cases that is gathered in this way as long as it is done legally. Others prefer to distance themselves, saying that it can open them to criminal liability charges. One judge says its puts attorneys, who are supposed to advocate strongly for their clients, in a difficult position.

While most divorces do not become this contentious, there are a number of difficult issues that may need to be resolved, including child custody and property division. A person might want to discuss his or her goals and priorities with an attorney. For example, someone might be primarily concerned with keeping his or her home or making sure he or she gets enough spousal support. Negotiating child custody may be emotionally painful, but parents should focus on their child's best interests and not any antagonism toward one another. A lawyer may be able to help a person stay focused on his or her priorities during divorce negotiations.

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