Considerations Before You Leave

Adam W. Wheeler Aug. 22, 2023

The following might be hard for some of you who think "I'm just gathering dirt" and it makes you feel dirty. No, you are gathering evidence. It is the other person's actions who has made things dirty. PLEASE, do not bring a knife to a gun fight!

I speak to people on a regular basis who have just left their home, their spouse, their long-term partner, or even their children. Often they are reeling from this decision or how they feel duped by the other person to leave when it was the other person who should have left. Sometimes, NO ONE needed to leave, they just needed to start separation and leaving the home seems like a natural way of starting the process.

In the event that you have time to do a little preparation (and your life is not in danger), then consider doing some of the following before your leave OR file for divorce.

Snoop Around: After you leave the home or file for divorce, the other person will know you are serious and you will lose out on opportunities to catch them doing what you know they are doing, but can't prove. This is NOT permission to break into things you do not own or to hack into an account that is not yours.

You SHOULD gather financial records or take photos of records that are left out. You can start keeping track of different bank statements that come. This is especially important when you do not have full access to the financial accounts.

Recordings: In Texas it is ok to do some forms of recording without the other person's knowledge, AS LONG AS you are part of the conversation, or they know your were there. This means DO NOT leave recorder in a car or room to record when you are gone. You might try it for your own knowledge, but most attorneys will not feel comfortable using that in court.

BUT, if you want to record arguments that you know happen on a regular basis, keep that phone handy to catch them in the act. It IS admissible in court. But if you don't catch them before you file for divorce or leave the home, there is a good chance they will clean up their act and you'll never catch them again.

A great example of this is when your significant other becomes a monster when they get drunk. RECORD RECORD RECORD!!!

P.S. do not record video in bathrooms or bedrooms or anyplace where someone might undress. In fact, to be safe, until you speak with an attorney, just audio record, and video in public.

Photographs: If they are violent and hurt you or break the home, photograph everything before they fix it. If they are a drunk and fall asleep in odd places, photograph.

Screen Shot Text Messages: This applies to Social Media as well. If they post stupid things on FB or Instagram, screenshot it and send it to a friend. Text messages are admissible in court. Make sure you can see the date and time, or better yet, there are some apps that will let you copy the whole conversation for months and months back. Get them to admit now to what you know they will never admit in court.

Phone Privacy: Please be aware that some phone, and phone plans, allow the administrator to see website searches, text messages, and GPS track all other phones on the plan. Be careful about the other person having access to your plan, and account.