Have You Been Hacked by Your Ex? Know Your Rights in Texas!

As technology continues to change our lives at a rapid pace, it’s easy to forget that so much of our most valuable and private information now hides in our computers, in our email accounts, phones, text messages iPads, and other devices. When you love someone, it may seem only natural and convenient to share your various passwords and account information or to leave your devices unprotected. However, when relationships become conflicted breakups, these security lapses can result in humiliating disasters with far-reaching consequences. As lawmakers try to keep up to help protect our information, it is more important than ever before to be aware of what is legal, what isn’t legal, and what steps you need to take in order to protect yourself from someone accessing your information for malicious purposes.

What are my online privacy rights?

Putting it bluntly, when you’re in a marriage or live-in relationship, you don’t have many. Texas did recently pass a bill (CSHB 896) to help define what a cyber-crime actually is, but it mostly doesn’t apply in this arena. Specifically, the law says a person commits an offense if they knowingly access a computer, network or system “with the intent to defraud or harm another or alter, damage, or delete property.” Although this language sounds reassuring, it is important to note that spouses are often given extraordinary leeway by courts with regards to what many would consider a reasonable invasion of privacy. In many instance, your spouse may still access anything in your computer, emails, or phone, and potentially even use that as evidence in any court proceedings. There are many examples of spouses aggressively attempting to do exactly that and successfully leveraging whatever they find to obtain custody, favorable settlements, or other advantages.

So what can I do?

If you are going through a divorce or break up,

  1. Immediately tell your spouse/ex that they DO NOT have permission to access any of your accounts, and document the message. You do have a right to privacy. If your spouse (Ex) continues to try to access your information, then they are potentially committing a criminal offense, and at the very least, any information they discover after written notice may not be admissible in court.
  2. CHANGE ALL OF YOUR PASSWORDS, and do it right away. Most of the popular online email services (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) actually track your internet usage and display that information to anyone with your password who knows where to look. What about iCloud / Apple? If your spouse has your password, they can actually log in to iMessage from anywhere, see all of your past texts and read any texts that you receive in real time. Depending on your device settings, they may even be able to track your actual location. Change your passwords, and…
  3. If you can, enable two-step verification on all accounts which offer it. This extra step will guarantee that nobody can access your account without your knowledge and permission.

In short, there is still a lot of gray area as our legal system struggles to keep up with technology. The smartest thing you can do is make sure you protect your accounts, stay away from your spouse’s, and exercise caution in anything you do online or on your phone.

Divorcing a Narcissist

What is a narcissist? Narcissistic Personality Disorder or ‘NPD” is a mental disorder where the person has very inflated self-esteem issue and a serious need for admiration and special treatment from other people. Typical arrogant behavior and lack of empathy for other people causes many problems in all emotional areas of their lives and relationships.

Narcissists are also very aggressive and usually have impulsivity, dangerous lifestyles involving cockiness, selfishness, manipulatives and power motives. These individuals are usually very exciting personalities at first meeting, but later cause unfulfilling relationships resulting in anxiety and depression at the end of the day.

You have meet the “most exciting” person in the world who has self-esteem problems and can’t get along with anyone, including you! The big problem is you married this person and now you MUST FIND A SOLUTION TO THIS SITUATION AND GET A DIVORCE!

The marriage adventure is over. Your married life to your narcissist was a total disaster and you know that you need to get a divorce. Are you frighten that you could very well lose everything in this divorce from hell since you may lack the manipulating skills that your narcissist spouse skillfully uses on all aspects of his/her manipulative lifestyle?

Before you start the Divorce battle with your narcissist, you must “Stop Feeling and Start Thinking”! You have been emotionally battered and mutilated for years by this spouse, but now is the time to take over your life and your children lives and decide that Your family DOES NOT AND WILL NOT TAKE THIS ABUSE ANYMORE FROM YOUR SPOUSE!

Here are some tips on planning your exit from this marriage and Win control of your life and your family lives.

  • BE PREPARED! If you are thinking of going through with this divorce, start your preparations now!  You need total knowledge of your family’s financial situation.  On our website you can pull off a blog “Texas Divorce Financial Checklist” (http://www.divorcedallastx.com/texas-divorce-financial-checklist/) which will give you a guideline on your financial information needed.  Update this information immediately. Know who makes what and where all monies and assets are located. All banking and account information should be update for correct account numbers and balances. This will help you determine how much money you will need to live on and what you can plan on your part of the assets.  This will also give you an idea on what funds you can use to hire a competent attorney to help you get through the divorce.
  • RESEARCH PRIORITY ISSUES! Educate yourself on divorce issues, such as child custody and visitation, who gets the house, property separation, spousal maintenance and child support in your state.  Prioritize what is important to you and prepare questions to ask an attorney on what your expectations should be.  All or nothing does not work.  Set Reasonable goals.
  • START INTERVIEWING ATTORNEYS to find a good match to help you through this complicated divorce.  Look for an attorney who deals with difficult family law cases concerning emotional/domestic abuse, high conflict individuals, or contested child custody.  Even if you are served divorce papers, take your time finding an experienced attorney who will be your advocate in the divorce.  DO NOT HIRE A NARCISSIST ATTORNEY! This would be a disaster!
  • Help Plan your Divorce Game plan! No one knows your Narcissist spouse or family situation better than you.  What arguments/facts will they come up with to hurt your position? Discuss your entire situation with you attorney and work together on your divorce approach.  Your attorney will help you determine your final goals through experience from his previous experience in such matters.
  • STAY REASONABLE AND TRY TO KEEP EMOTIONS STEADY! Don’t let your narcissist spouse turn you into a narcissist! You cannot win this way! Think logical, use true facts, and don’t go overboard financially battling with him/her. If this gets settled, goes to mediation, or ever a jury trial, if will be over and you will greatly improve your life.

You married a Narcissist and now you are divorcing him/her.  You must be prepared knowing that your spouse will now be able to participation in the greatest show of their lives, “THE DIVORCE”. Your spouse will try to show what a horrible, ungrateful, unworthy person/parent you are and how badly you hurt your innocent victim/martyr spouse.

Irrelevant are your feelings and emotions. By thinking and planning your divorce strategy with a qualified attorney you will be prepared for battle and to live your life as you choose.

Remember the focal point of his/her narcissistic behavior is the fear of abandonment and threat to his/her self-worth. Be well-prepared for the battle ahead. The key is to not respond emotionally and let it drain you. Observe their behavior as a disorder, and don’t absorb it as a literal or personal attack on you.

If you mitigate for his drawn-out narcissistic rage and know that he may attempt to destroy you, you will less likely feel bullied or defeated. Be forewarned, you will be less victimized by something you expect.

What to Do if you are Served with a Divorce Petition, Citation, or Notice to Appear

A divorce proceeding is a difficult time for all parties involved. It is scary to be “served” with a petition for divorce. Fear, anxiety, and confusion are just some of the emotions that go through one’s mind when reading and absorbing an official Court document stating that a spouse wishes to end the relationship. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are served.

First, it is not the total end of the world. Do not give into immediate impulses and passions or fall prey to threatening or aggressive messages. Remember anything you say or do, especially in messages, texts or emails, may be used against you at Court. Do not give your spouse free arguments for the divorce.

Second, DO NOT use social media to vent frustration or talk about the divorce. Anything you write to third parties on social media may and will be used against you in Court. It may be hard but for your own benefit do not engage in frustrated tirades regarding your spouse on Facebook.

Third, find an experienced attorney, especially if children are involved. Be smart. It is not always prudent to hire a lawyer based on what appears to be the best financial deal possible when your children and possessions are at stake. The old axiom “you get what you pay for” is true when it comes to legal representation.

Fourth, be wary of Pro Se representation. Pro Se means that you have chosen to represent yourself in the divorce case. This may end very badly for you. Many people believe that if they research enough and familiarize themselves with the Texas Family Law Code they just might be able to receive a good outcome and drive up the attorney cost for the other spouse. Attorneys go to school for many years for a reason. The outcomes for Pro Se clients are not usually good and do not be tricked into taking on an inexperienced attorney to save money.

Fifth, save all hateful and scandalous remarks made by your spouse that have been emailed, texted, posted on social media or any other proof that can be saved against your spouse. Delete Nothing! Allow your spouse to dig his/her own hole. All of both spouse’s comments may be used in Court.

Finally, do not listen to your Spouse about any type of perceived legal outcomes. “I talked to a lawyer and he said you better sign this or I will get everything…”. This is common in family law. Do not fall for the trap, seek experienced representation and let the lawyer deal with your spouse or your spouse’s attorney. Do not be tricked into settling or giving up your children or possessions without competent assistance and advice from legal counsel.

Follow this advice and it will greatly help your probabilities with obtaining a favorable and fair outcome in your divorce case.