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Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

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GPS Tracking, Facebook Passwords Fair Game in Divorce

During the course of a divorce settlement, it is always preferable for everyone involved – spouses and especially their children – to reach an agreement amicably. While this does happen in many instances, the contentious, bitter divorces are the ones that make headlines, and a recent court decision out of New Jersey underlines the fact that spouses should not assume that their behavior is always private.

The case involves a wife who suspected that her husband was cheating on her. She hired a private investigator to verify whether this was true, but the investigator was unable to keep tabs on the husband at all times, so he recommended that she put a GPS unit in his car’s glove compartment. She did so, and the GPS data provided evidence that supported her infidelity suspicions.

Her husband tried to get the judge for the case to throw out the evidence from the GPS on the grounds that the device violated his right to privacy, but both the trial court and the appellate court ruled for the wife and private investigator. The court opinion said that the husband had no reasonable expectation of privacy while he was driving on public roads. Recording that data, therefore, was not a violation of his privacy.

A few weeks ago we discussed another case where the judge forced spouses to exchange Facebook passwords so that they could go through each other’s accounts. Courts have now permitted the use of social media data and GPS tracking in divorce cases. Both could potentially have a big impact on how spouses split custody of their children and how they split their property. Have you had any privacy issues like these in your divorce proceeding?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce attorneys

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