The Houston Family Law Blog

Spy v. Spouse: Spousal Surveillance on the Rise

The old truism states that trust is the foundation to any successful relationship. That's probably true, and would explain why family law courts are seeing more and more divorce cases involving snooping spouses, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Though Texas is often referred to as a "no-fault" state in terms of divorce, no-fault based on irreconcileable differences is merely an option. A divorce can also be had on the basis of fault, such as adultery, incarceration for more than a year, abandonment for more than a year, and a few other provisions.

Adultery can affect alimony awards and division of property, so spouses often think its a good idea to attempt to get evidence of their spouses cheating. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported that, as of five years ago, nearly every divorce case involved some sort of electronic evidence, such as a Facebook post.

In terms of spy equipment to gather such evidence, a quick Google search can locate devices that appear to be MP3 players, watches, alarm clocks, pens, and even a BMW key. Big Brother surveillance is now available in high definition, disguised as a keychain, for as little as $30 from a warehouse in China.

And, so far, domestic wiretapping is seems to be perfectly legal in Texas.

The only Texas statute on point seems to be Section 21.15: Improper Photography or Visual Recording. However, to be convicted under the statute, someone would have either be recording the video with the intent to "arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person," or record them in a bathroom or dressing room with the intent to invade their privacy.

It seems the only remedy, at least until the laws catch up to technology, is a civil lawsuit for invasion of privacy. Until then, expect to see a lot more Spy v. Spouse in your local Family Law courtroom.

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