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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32371
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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My fiance has a very obsessive ex-spouse who installed

Customer Question

My fiance has a very obsessive ex-spouse who installed Webwatcher software on their shared computer when married and is now using that info as well as identity theft (info she's made up) against him. Isn't that illegal? She also somehow hacked into his Gmail after they were legally separated and living apart. She obtained a document fom there that was incredibly sensitive and exposed that. Do we have any recourse in CA?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 4 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

It would be illegal if done after they were divorced or, potentially, after they were separated. Most legal experts agree that it wouldn't be actionable if done while married because of community property issues.

There doesn't appear to be a specific cause of action that would allow a lawsuit but what he might want to do is hire a lawyer and file for an injunction against her preventing her from accessing the accounts again or from releasing any further information and also requiring her to return any documents that are his.

This would be done through an injunction and then the lawyer could depose her as a part of that case and determine if there are any causes of action that would allow a viable lawsuit.

Injunctions are extremely difficult so he definitely needs a lawyer for that reason in addition to needing someone who knows what they are looking for to do the deposition.

The steps to an injunction are:

1) An Application for TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) is filed along with supporting evidence such as affidavits. Usually the Application for Injunction is made at the same time. The TRO is a temporary measure and is not absolutely required before you get an injunction.
2) An Ex Parte (without the other side present) Hearing is conducted and the judge either issues the TRO or denies it. If the TRO is issued the judge orders a bond set in a sufficient amount to compensate the other side for any damages accumulated while the TRO is in place if the applicant fails to prove their right to an injunction.
3) A hearing on the TRO is set.
4) The TRO and notice of Hearing is served on the defendant.
5) The defendant should immediately begin following the judge's orders.
6) The TRO hearing is held and each side has an opportunity to present evidence and question witnesses.
7) The judge makes the decision on whether to convert the TRO to a Temporary Injunction or not.
8) If the TRO is converted to a Temporary Injunction then the judge sets a new bond to be in place.
9) Discovery is conducted by both sides.
10) A request for hearing date is made on the matter of converting the Temporary Injunction into a Permanent Injunction.
11) The hearing/trial is held on the Permanent Injunction and the judge issues a ruling.

These are what are known as extraordinary remedies and the procedural rules for these as well as the case law are EXTREMELY specific and difficult. If ANY mistakes are made the judge has no choice but to deny the relief and will not likely reconsider it in the future.

Just as an example, getting injunctive relief, both temporary and permanent, requires that evidence be offered of:
1) An immediate need,
2) Which, if not granted, will result in irreparable harm,
3) With no adequate remedy at law, and
4) (on temporary order) The person requesting the injunction is likely to succeed at a full trial on the merits.

If evidence is not offered to meet these four requirements, in a manner that the judge knows this is what the evidence shows, then the petition will be denied.

There are more requirements than this depending on the exact facts of the case but it is very, very easy to mess up one of these and end up having to pay damages to the other side just because your paperwork wasn't done properly.

You can find a lawyer to assist you by going to www.lawyers.com and in the section for Area of Practice enter Civil Litigation or Family Law. Either of those will have the skill set you need.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered. In addition, once you issue your Positive Rating the question will lock open and no longer time out so you can come back to it anytime in the future if you think of any follow ups.