Dirty Divorce Trick – Dummy Emails

Walters Gilbreath, PLLC

Beware of the emotionally unstable spouse who has good technological skills. In recent years we’ve seen a huge rise in a spouse creating dummy emails and fake Facebook posts. There are programs that enable a person to go online and create text messages that were never sent, emails that were never read, and social network posts that were never made.

This is often used for child custody purposes, and almost always used to paint an unflattering or unstable picture of the other spouse. This is why it is important that you save any electronic communication between yourself and the other party. That way, you may be able to show that the other party is providing inauthentic documentation.

Imagine the following example: a technologically savvy wife enters into divorce litigation with a not so tech-savvy husband, and custody litigation ensues. The technologically savvy wife decides to create a fake profile of the husband on Facebook that looks identical to the husband’s “real” profile. The technologically savvy wife then sends messages to herself from the fake profile of the husband whereby the husband “incriminates” himself and makes comments that could be very damaging to his custody case. The technology savvy wife then takes these printouts and sends them to her attorney, who then uses them in the case as evidence against the husband.

I bet that this happens much more often than you would ever guess. When this happens, it becomes incumbent on the aggrieved spouse to subpoena records from Facebook, Internet providers, email accounts, and other social media accounts to prove that the technologically savvy spouse is creating fake evidence. This could get costly and timely, therefore extending the litigation.

Dirty Divorce Trick #11 – Extortion/Blackmailing the Other Spouse

Extortion is more rampant in divorce litigation than in almost any other area of law. Extortion is another word for ‘Blackmail’. It means that one spouse is either holding something “hostage” from the other party or is obtaining something from the other spouse through coercion. This coercion does not need to be physical but could be threats of abuse, violence, ruining one’s reputation, etc.

Texas extortion laws offer many possible penalties. The factor that determines the severity of the punishment if convicted is the amount or value of the goods, services or cash that the defendant gains from the crime.

  • For the smallest amounts ($50 and under), the charge will be a “Class C” misdemeanor carrying a penalty of a simple fine of up $500.
  • The most serious charge will be for stealing $200,000 or more in goods, services or cash. This is considered a first-degree felony and can be punishable by five to ninety-nine years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

If you don’t want to wound up in jail/prison, with a criminal record, and/or paying a fine, I suggest that you don’t attempt this dirty trick.

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