Wiretapping & Data Interception in Civil and Family Law Cases

Wiretapping & Data Interception in Civil and Family Law Cases

Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, October 2015

by Hon. Emily Miskel

Civil and family law attorneys are increasingly confronted with situations where a client’s information has been improperly accessed or where a client has obtained information improperly. The laws relating to interception of communications and electronic data are a confusing web of state and federal statutes, which can include harsh penalties and damages for clients. These laws can also create personal criminal and financial liability for lawyers.

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Am I Allowed To…?

I often receive questions from clients about what they’re permitted to do in a divorce to obtain evidence:

Can I record calls?
Can I put a hidden camera in our home?
Can I put a GPS tracker on my spouse’s car?

These questions are governed by a confusing mix of state and federal laws that can have steep financial and criminal penalties. Importantly, there are no exceptions for spouses.

In order to answer some of the most common questions, I’ve put together a brochure aimed at non-lawyers, and available for download here.