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Dirty Divorce Tricks : Making Secret Copies, Stealing, and Spending

Dirty Divorce Trick # 7 : Making Secret Copies

In anticipation of divorce, it is very common to see one of the parties gather evidence against the other party. Maybe one spouse has proof of the other spouse's affair, but the proof is on the accused spouse's laptop, in his/her email, or in his/her password-protected phone. Perhaps one spouse has proof that the other has wasted assets but it is on the accused spouse's electronic device(s). Snooping in the accused spouse's things is crossing the line, no matter how desperate you are for answers or proof; so, when one of the parties goes into the private computer or email of the other party and makes secret copies or downloads of the other party’s information, this crosses the line as well. In many circumstances, this sort of behavior is not just unethical but is also downright criminal. This is especially true with electronic documents that are enumerated under the Texas statute regarding specific privacy expectations. Criminal penalties exist for any spouse that not only downloads or copies this information but there are separate offenses for each person that it is shared with as well.

printer-2178754_960_720.jpgWhen a case is heading for divorce, as crazy as it sounds, the best thing that both parties can do is to make sure that their email, social network accounts (i.e. Facebook), and computer passwords have been changed and are all secure. If you do not have any of your devices password protected, then it is likely that the snooping spouse can argue that the devices are shared between you to and therefore, do not require protection from them. Passwords show that you are the only person with intended access.

You would be surprised at how much a suspicious spouse will comb through the accused spouse's things. The best maneuver is for a spouse to eliminate the ability of the other spouse to do this. 

Dirty Divorce Trick # 8 : Stealing Bank Statements, Health Care Records, and Other Documents

On a similar note, a dirty trick that goes back well before the invention of email and digital records, is the theft of the physical records including bank statements, healthcare records, and other documents. Many times bank statements, health insurance information, etc. is regularly mailed to the billing address. Therefore, it is fairly simple for a spouse to get their hands on these documents, especially if the document(s) get mailed to the marital home (that the spouses still share). 

Healthcare records are especially problematic due to HIPAA laws. In other words, a spouse will need to seek the okay from the other spouse before turning over any of his or her healthcare records. Especially in contested child custody litigation, an overly aggressive spouse may use the dirty trick of stealing the health records of the other spouse, turning them over to his or her attorney, and trying to use them to a tactical advantage without permission of the other spouse or the court.

This dirty trick, in the right circumstances, can be used against the offending spouse and could be damning depending on the information.

Dirty Divorce Trick #9 : Spending Money Wildly/Excessively

In this case, the spouse who is dependent on the small business owner will need to be proactive to avoid this dirty trick. This is not the time to be going on extravagant trips, spending money on paramours or mistresses, buying expensive vehicles, gambling, etc. If you do, the court can determine that you have wasted community funds and order that the community estate be reimbursed by the amount that you wasted. 

A spouse also can prove to the judge that the money was spent unreasonably and with the intent to hurt the spouse. In other words, it wasn’t reasonable and necessary expenses that were consistent with what the parties had seen during the marriage. If the spouse can prove this to the court even though the money is already gone, that spouse may be able to get the judge to hold the other spouse's wild spending against him/her in any financial settlements made during the divorce case.

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