It never ceases to amaze me what people post or email each other during a
divorce in Texas. I have had clients bring in pictures that they obtained from Facebook
of the opposing party:
- using drugs
- with stacks of cash
These were in cases where either custody was at issue or the opposing party
was claiming not to have any money so they should not have to pay child
support or that child support should be minimal. My office was of course
happy to introduce these pictures in court as evidence against the opposing party.
We have written previously about being careful of how use social media
and will post links to those articles below. In this article, we will
continue that discussion by making suggestions of what to do and not to
do when using electronic communications during your
divorce in Texas.
Think twice about using Social Network Sites
This includes sites such as Facebook or MySpace. As discussed above they
can be a treasure trove of information for the opposing side. Even if
you do not post anything, you cannot stop someone else from posting comments
or pictures. Maybe your smart enough to post incriminating photos of yourself
on Facebook but are your friends?
Do Not Tweet
Tweeting can give the opposition a perfect timeline of your whereabouts
and actions. I have had clients bring in tweets showing that other parent
was tweeting about being at a party when the child is supposed to be in
his or her care. It was very nice of the opposing party to provide us
with this incriminating information.
Don't Spy on Your Spouse's Computer
We have discussed this before and will post those articles below.
It is now a crime to access someone's computer without their consent.
Texas Penal Code Section 33.02. You need to be aware of the possible criminal
penalties. Texas Penal Code Section 33.02 states:
- A person commits an offense if the person knowingly accesses a computer,
computer network or computer system without effective consent of the owner.
- A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly gives
a password, identifying code, personal identification number, debit card
number, bank account number or other confidential information about a
computer security system to another person without the effective consent
of the person employing the computer security system to restrict access
to a computer, computer network, computer system or data.
An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless the actor's
intent is to obtain a benefit or defraud or harm another, in which event
the offense is:
- a state jail felony if the value of the benefit or the amount of the loss
or harm is less than $20,000; or
- a felony of the third degree if the value of the benefit or the amount
of the loss or harm is $20,000 or more.
- A person who is subject to prosecution under this section and any other
section of this code may be prosecuted under either or both sections.
Don't Harass Anyone Online
Harassing people online has become a popular intimidation tactic. One incident
of notoriety has become known as “gamergate.” In which several
women in the video game industry were the subject of a harassment campaign
using social sites such as twitter to post harassing comments, personal
information such home addresses and personal phone numbers online. This
then lead to harassing phone calls and letters to these woman.
As of September 1, 2009, it is a third-degree felony to use another person's
name to post a message on a social networking site without that person's
consent if the intent is to harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten. Texas
Penal Code 33.07 was amended to read as follows:
A person commits an offense if the person uses the name or persona of another
person to create a web page on or to post one or more messages on a commercial
social networking site:
- without obtaining the other person’s consent; and
- with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten any person.
- A person commits an offense if the person sends an electronic mail, instant
message, text message, or similar communication that references a name,
domain address, phone number, or other item of identifying information
belonging to any person:
- without obtaining the other person’s consent;
- with the intent to cause a recipient of the communication to reasonably
believe that the other person authorized or transmitted the communication; and
- with the intent to harm or defraud any person.
- An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the third degree. An offense
under Subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense
is a felony of the third degree if the actor commits the offense with
the intent to solicit a response by emergency personnel.
- If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes
an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this
section, the other law, or both.
It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor is any
of the following entities or that the actor’s conduct consisted
solely of action taken as an employee of any of the following entities:
- a commercial social networking site;
- an Internet service provider;
- an interactive computer service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 230;
- a telecommunications provider, as defined by Section 51.002, Utilities Code; or
- a video service provider or cable service provider, as defined by Section
66.002, Utilities Code.
- “Commercial social networking site” means any business, organization,
or other similar entity operating a website that permits persons to become
registered users for the purpose of establishing personal relationships
with other users through direct or real-time communication with other
users or the creation of web pages or profiles available to the public
or to other users. The term does not include an electronic mail program
or a message board program.
- “Identifying information” has the meaning assigned by Texas
Penal Code Section 32.51.
Do Not Use "Rewards" Cards
Many businesses such as grocery stores have "rewards cards,”
that in exchange for when a cardholder checks out and uses the card gets
a discount or coupons.
However, using these cards also creates a record of everything that was
purchased. For example, if someone shops at a grocery store and writes
a check you will not be able to tell what was purchased.
However, if a record is obtained using the rewards card information you
might find out that six cases of beer was purchased instead of groceries.
You should consider immediately and on a regular basis changing all of
your passwords. This includes:
- email passwords
- Financial accounts such as bank account passwords
- social network passwords
Your new password should not be:
- Any password you have previous used or
- A password that is available to your the spouse or that your spouse could
guess such as the child's birth date or an anniversary date.
Change Email Addresses
You might want to consider setting up an entirely new email account just
for correspondence between our office and you.
Even changing passwords is not always sometimes is not enough to protect
from someone hacking into the your email.
There are websites out there that offer to help break into email accounts.
By using a new email address and changing your password regularly it will
make it that much more difficult for your ex to gain access to your email.
Change PIN Numbers
You should be change immediately personal identification numbers for:
- debit cards
- credit cards and
- bank cards
As discussed above your new PIN should be one not easily guessed.
Be Aware of Keyloggers and Spyware
It is not uncommon for spouses to use programs known as keyloggers or spyware.
This often true when your spouse can gain access to your computer at home.
It may be a good idea to take your computer to a specialist who can check
to see if any of these programs or on your computer.
Consider Every Conversation as Recorded
Going forward you should assume that every conversation you have with your
spouse is being recorded. This can take the form of:
- Audio Recording or
- Video Recording
There all kinds of devices out there which making video or audio recordings
easy. This can be as easy as hitting the record feature on your smart
phone or download an app to record a cell phone conversation.
Whenever you write a text message or email write it with the knowledge
that a judge will be reading it later.
Your Cell Phones May be Used Against You
There are programs that exists that can allow someone to listen to every
conversation and see every text message on your phone without your knowledge.
This is illegal but those programs still exist. Be careful what you say
or text on your phone.
Deleted Information Can still be Recovered
Even though you delete:
- Your text messages
- digital documents
- incoming and outgoing calls or
- voice messages
it may still be possible to recover this information. Be careful how you
use your phone and computer.
Be Aware of your Surroundings
Although technology is available that makes spying easier sometimes spouses
use older methods of spying including private investigators.
A private investigator will be able to track your comings and goings. Be
aware when you are travelling anyone could be following you. If you are
not doing something wrong, then there is not anything to be a concerned about.
Be Aware of Web Browsing Histories
The web browser you use to visit websites keeps track of every website
you visit on the internet. If you do not want the judge knowing:
- what websites you visit on the internet
- or write or say on the internet
Be careful where you go, what you write, or say on the internet.
If you want to know more about what you can do,
CLICK the button below to get your
“16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Can I Sue My Ex for Hacking My Computer in My Texas Divorce?
- Cell Phones, Mail, Computers, Spying on your Spouse, and Privacy Rights
in a Spring, Texas Divorce
- Do I Need to Change My Passwords for a Divorce in Texas?
- Legalities of spying on a child’s cell phone in Texas
- How Social Media Can Hurt You in Divorce
- Why do divorces cost so much in Texas?
- How Can I Get My Spouse to Pay My Attorney's Fees in a Texas Divorce?
- How Much Will My Texas Divorce Cost?
- Can I sue my spouse's mistress in Texas?
- Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children
and families. If you have questions regarding
divorce, it's important to speak with one of our
Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and
developing a strategy to meet those goals.
Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online
form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles
Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein,
The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including
Fort Bend County and