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Temptation pulls at our heartstrings, and it can be at the very core of a divorce. But if you are tempted to lurk on social media to find out what your future ex is up to, even if it's just for legal discovery, make sure you don't blur the line between investigation and cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is a crime, and can really disadvantage your position in divorce hearings.
Cyberstalking, a Slippery Slope
During the course of a divorce, it may be helpful to gather information found on social media. For instance, your future ex may claim you two have no liquid assets to divide, but then posts a picture on Facebook of vacationing in a fabulous location with beautiful people and extravagant luxuries. That information might be helpful, but it may also get your blood boiling. If you find yourself lurking online, unsupervised, with a drink in your hand, you may want to ask a friend for intervention before the reconnaissance missions becomes cyberstalking.
Divorce Isn't a Crime, but Cyberstalking Is
Cyberstalking is defined as using the internet to intimidate, harass, embarrass or threaten another person. This includes texts, emails, and social media posts. So if you see that Facebook post and you post a reply such as, "Eureka! I'm coming after your money and your cute arm candy," that may be considered cyberstalking.
Stalking is a crime in all fifty states, and cyberstalking is a crime that some courts choose to put under these stalking laws. Cyberstalking can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case and your criminal history. You could end up in state prison for up to five years and be ordered to attend counseling and possibly even be committed to a state run hospital for mental illness. More importantly, if the victim is someone that you have a personal relationship with, it may give rise to a domestic violence charge or restraining order. Cyberstalking may also be used against you in custody hearings.
If you are in the process of separating or divorce, and you have questions about cyberstalking, contact a divorce attorney. A seasoned veteran in the process, a divorce attorney can tell you what is legal, what is not, and what is so gray you don't want to go near it. Love is blind, and so is justice, but the two don't always see eye to eye. Contact a divorce attorney today to find where the laws are, before you need a criminal defense attorney.