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Invasion of privacy in a Texas Divorce

Invasion of Privacy in TEXAS

Invasion of privacy as a cause of action between two spouses and how you may prosecute this cause of action in a divorce, or you could defend a cause of action brought against you for invasion of your spouse’s privacy.

Spouses can assert claims against each other for invasion of privacy. Invasion and is a broad term that includes three distinct causes of action under Texas law:

  1. Intrusion on seclusion.
  2. Public disclosure private facts and,
  3. Appropriation of name or likeness.

Is a willful tort, and the unwarranted invasion of the right of privacy constitutes a legal injury for which remedy will be granted.

The right of privacy has been defined as the right to be free from unwarranted appropriation or exploit exploitation of one’s personality, the publicizing of one’s private affairs which the public has no legitimate concern, or the wrongful intrusion into one’s private activities in such a matter as to outrage or cause mental suffering, shame, or humiliation to a person of ordinary sensibilities.

Intrusion on seclusion

To prove this cause of action for invasion of privacy by intrusion on seclusion, the plaintiff must establish the defendant intentionally intruded on plaintiff’s solitude the elements for a claim of intrusion on seclusion are:

  1. The defendant acted intentionally by intruding on the plane of solitude, seclusion, or private affairs.
  2. The intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and,
  3. The plaintiff suffered injury as a result of the defendant’s intrusion.

The elements for intrusion on a person’s seclusion solitude and private affairs require there be an intentional intrusion on the solitude or seclusion of the person or there are private affairs or concerns that is highly offensive to a reasonable person.

This type is associated with either a physical invasion of a person’s property or eavesdropping or another’s conversation with the aid of wiretaps microphones or some type of spying.

An example would be placing a camera in the bathroom, putting some type of recording device on your spouse’s phone to where you can listen in on conversations.

Public disclosure of private facts

To prove an action for the public disclosure private facts the plaintiff must establish that the defendant publicizes information about the plaintiff’s private life.

To show an invasion of privacy by the public disclosure of the embarrassing private facts, the matters publicized publicize must be those for which would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and not a legitimate concern to the public.

So an example of this would be the woman having an abortion, the parties exchanging naked selfies, a child of one of the parents sorry a child not necessarily of the parents but a child of the parties from another relationship who had failed a class, failed school, religious certain religious ceremonies if you participate in devilish ceremonies and that is something that is more private and that is disclosed while you’re in ritual practice by your spouse which could cause you some harm or embarrassment.

Now the damages for is a willful tort that constitutes a legal injury, and damages for mental suffering are recoverable without the necessity of showing actual physical injury, because the injury for the willful invasion of the right of privacy is essentially mental and subjective not actual harm done to the plaintiff’s body.

Exemplary damages are also recoverable for an action for invasion of privacy

So, when you take these causes of action and you apply them in a family law case which you have as you have it’s not uncommon for a party and family law case to survey wiretap, audio tape, audio tape, or videotape the party spouse.

The spouse’s significant other or the children, because when you do this, you’re exposing yourself to both civil and criminal liability it’s something that you should talk to your attorney before you institute any type of surveillance on your spouse.

Because again you if you actually publish it is where generally the liability comes in.

So to record it and then not to use it is something that many times you can probably get away with actually making the recording but then when you try to use it at trial then you have extreme exposure and liability which can be thousands of dollars in penalties, so that’s something that most lawyers are going to tell you not to install cameras that your spouse doesn’t know about.

If you’re going to do it for security purposes make sure your spouse knows about it, is aware of it and has consented to it.

Putting a security system in the bathroom is generally not something you want to do, in your kids rooms where they’re dressing you can have a lot of problems if you have daughters and you are the father that’s putting up a surveillance system, and if you’ve got a 15 year old daughter and you record her dressing and undressing then you can rest assured your wife is gonna call cps and say that you are recording your daughter without her permission and you will be in hot water.

Houston Divorce Attorney

So doing the entryways into the house maybe the common areas is usually something that divorce lawyers would say yeah that’s more appropriate but don’t do bathrooms, bedrooms maybe hallways are okay.

And again, this is a video which does not go into the civil wiretapping claims necessarily revenge porn which are more substantive videos which require more substantive analysis, this is a general overall video to give you some exposure to the invasion of privacy claims that may be brought in a family law matter.

A video of this Blog may be viewed 

⇒ For more Family Law content visit my YouTube channel 

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Michael Busby is a Houston divorce lawyer who has been in practice for over 20 years and appears daily in the Family Law Courts of Harris County and Fort Bend County Texas

Busby & Associates , have two Houston Offices, one in Chinatown, Houston Texas and another in Independent Heights, Houston, Texas. Michael Busby is Board Certified in Family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.