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Spousal Snooping: Is it Okay to Spy?


The impending realization that you will be separating from a partner in the near future can inflict many feelings, including sadness, anger, and even a morbid curiosity. While there is likely a large part of you that would prefer to remain in denial, this curiosity can lead you to embark on a quest for the truth even when you know you most likely will not like the answers you find. And even if you and your spouse have already separated, it is understandable if you desire to independently search for an explanation that fills in the holes of why you are no longer together.

However, most people are not aware that there can be legal consequences associated with accessing the private information or conversations of other people, even if you happen to have a personal connection with that person. If you suspect that your spouse is cheating, you should speak with the experienced divorce lawyers of Zagazeta Garcia LLP about your legal options before making any other plans.

What is the Ontario Case You Should Be Aware Of?

Before you begin spying, you should be aware of an important case that spotlights the possible consequences of invading someone’s privacy. In Jones v. Tsige, the plaintiff sued her co-worker after the defendant started accessing the plaintiff’s personal bank account information. Both parties worked at different locations of the same bank. The defendant, who had started dating the plaintiff’s ex-husband, used her work computer to access the plaintiff’s personal bank accounts at least 174 times within a four year period. That court ultimately upheld a common law tort known as “intrusion into seclusion” in awarding the plaintiff $10,000.

What Kind of Behavior Can Be Deemed Questionable in Lieu of the Jones Case?

As outlined in the Jones decision, an individual can now have to pay up to $20,000 whenever that person’s action was intentional or reckless, was an unlawful invasion of private affairs or concerns, and the invasion would be regarded by a reasonable person as highly offensive. Notably, there is no requirement of damage to an economic interest in order for someone to recover against you.

What Should You Consider in Deciding Your Next Steps?

  • Your access to the information in question. Consider whether you would have access to this information in your normal day to day routine. The more out of your way that you would have to go to obtain it, the less likely you should attempt to gain access to it.
  • Your children. You should remember that you will have to continue to coparent if you share children. While you have every right to undertake actions you think are in your best interest, don’t forget that ultimately, your children’s interest matters more than anything else and the discovery that you have spied can have long-lasting implications.
  • Your motivation for wanting to spy. Do you believe that you spouse has hidden assets you want considered in your impending divorce? Or do you believe your spouse is cheating? And if you are certain you no longer want to be with your spouse regardless, does it even matter?

Turn to Us For Help.

If you suspect or find out that your spouse is cheating on you, it can be difficult to deal with as you decide to approach a separation. The Mississauga divorce lawyers at Zagazeta Garcia LLP have significant experience helping people like you figure out how to successfully transition into a separation from difficult situations. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to confidentially begin to figure out your next steps.




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