Navigating Electronic Surveillance and Tracking in Texas Divorce and Custody Cases
The Impact of Tracking Apps in Texas Divorce Cases
Apps that allow family members to track each other are prevalent and intended as a safety tool. However, for divorcing couples in Texas, such tools can lead to complications. Soon-to-be former spouses can use tracking apps to spy on each other and monitor each other’s location, activities, and more.
Texas's strict surveillance laws prohibit eavesdropping, GPS tracking, and voicemail surveillance without consent from all parties. However, many people who initially consented to location tracking prior to filing a petition for divorce want to withdraw that consent later. This is especially true in cases where there has been family violence. But, in many cases, they don’t know how to turn off the tracking or are unable to do so.
What’s more, prior to this year, even when a Court had issued a protective order due to family violence, it wasn’t always clear that such orders prohibited tracking the protected party’s location. Now, that has changed.
Protective Orders and Electronic Tracking: New Regulations
Starting September 1, 2023, a new law will ensure protective orders specifically prohibit the use of electronic location trackers and physical tracking. The ban extends to tracking the personal property or vehicles of protected persons or their family members. Those with records of family violence are restricted from utilizing tracking apps or devices, reinforcing security measures. This provision applies to protective orders issued after September 1, 2023; older orders adhere to the prior law.
Additionally, the new law says that if you have filed for divorce, it is presumed that you no longer consent to being tracked. Consequently, it's prudent for all parties to deactivate all tracking apps and devices related to their spouse before initiating a divorce case.
Seek Legal Guidance
In the realm of Texas divorce and child custody, protective orders are intricate. Concerned about surveillance and protective orders in your Texas divorce or child custody case? Consult with experienced family law attorney Robert Tsai to safeguard your rights and find legal solutions. Schedule a consultation today.