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Checking Phone and Computer for Evidence of Cheating

Is it a good idea to access your spouse's e-mail account or cell phone without that person's knowledge?  This could be a good way to find out of your spouse is cheating or to find out other information that may help you get a leg up in your divorce case.  The answer is no, it is not only not a good idea, but it is against the law.   

The Texas Penal Code states "a person commits an offense if the person knowingly accesses a computer, computer network, or computer system without the effective consent of the owner."  According to Texas law, a cellphone is now considered a computer.  So, if you check your spouse's text messages on his/her phone, you are committing a criminal offence.  Just because the phone is community property does not mean that you have permission to check its contents.

Even if you log on to your spouse's private e-mail account on a computer you share, you could get in criminal trouble.  Also, just because you know your spouse's password, does not mean that you are entitled to access his/her e-mail account to try to discover evidence of an affair.

In addition to potential criminal problems, you could also be sued in civil court if your spouse is "inured or whose property has been injured" by your violation of the law.

So, it is best not to try to snoop in computers and phones in order to find out information about your spouse's misdeeds.  It could land you in hot water later.  

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