Divorce Attorney Cape Town

Hacking your husband or wife’s mobile phone is a criminal offence

Hacking your spouse’s mobile phone is a criminal offence

I acted in a divorce matter where the husband hacked into his wife’s cell phone, email and facebook accounts in an endeavour to obtain information to strengthen his case. Although it is a criminal offense this happens frequently. Actions such as these amount to a criminal offense and is illegal.  Whether you use BBM, Whatsup or Mxit, all data can be hacked.

Cell phone hacking does occur in divorce matters, but not as frequently as computer hacking. Hacking is the intent to load viruses or spyware, obtain passwords or personal information, or cause general electronic mayhem. While smartphones can have a computer-like operating system, the majority have different operating systems like Andriod or Symbian. Hackers attempt to find flaws in an operating system, which makes a cell phone or computer vulnerable to attack. Because there are a large number of cell phone operating systems, a flaw in one system may not be the same flaw in another.

Recent figures by the GSM Association group of mobile operators found 18 different spyware applications sold openly on the internet, at prices ranging from $29.99 to $847.

Most of these require the snooper to get hold of the target’s phone to install the necessary software and then intercept and monitor communications. Getting the spy software installed on a phone without physically handling it is almost impossible, so if you think you can hack a phone over the internet you can’t, because any program that is installed on the phone must be done manually. So if your spouse had your phone in his possession then chances are good that he/she could have installed software on the phone to hack it.

What can be downloaded off the cell phone?

  • GPS. Since many cell phones have a GPS chip embedded within the phone, a hacker can determine your location. This in turn lets them find out places you go, like home or work.
  • Contact List. A hacker can obtain and download all your contacts. In 2005, Paris Hilton’s phone was hacked and all her contacts stolen. People on her contact list received prank calls for months afterwards.
  • Getting general personal information. Text messages, pictures, video: they are all vulnerable to getting stolen if cell phone hacking happens. This is akin to spyware stealing your passwords on your computer or a hacker seeking out all your private stuff in those folders you thought you had hidden away well.
  • Speakerphone or Spycam. A truly inventive hacker may hijack your phone in order to use the camera to spy visually and audibly.
  • Call Interception. Listen to the actual calls live on the target cell phone
  • Environment Listening. Make a spy call to the target cell phone running and listen in to the phone’s surroundings.
  • SMS Logging. Records both incoming & outgoing SMS and MMS
  • SIM Change Notification. Get instant notification via SMS when the target cell phone changes its SIM
  • Remote Control. Send secret SMS to the target phone to control all its functions

The hacker can download all the data from a web based programme to a computer, from any location in the world.

Hacking has been entrenched in our law in section 86 (1) of the Electronic Communications Act (ECT), which makes any unlawful access and interception of data a criminal offence. The section also make any attempt to gain unauthorised access a crime Section 86(3) and 86 (4) introduce a new form of crime known as the anti-cracking and hacking law. In terms of this law, the provision and/or selling and/or designing and/or producing of anti-security circumventing technology will be a punishable offence liable to a fine or imprisonment of up to 12 months.

About the Author

Bertus Preller is a Divorce Attorney in Cape Town and has more than 20 years experience in most sectors of the law and 13 years as a practicing attorney. He specializes in Family law and Divorce Law in Cape Town. Bertus is also the Family Law expert on Health24.com and on the expert panel of Law24.com and is frequently quoted on Family Law issues in newspapers such as the Sunday Times and Business Times and magazines such as Noseweek, You and Huisgenoot. His clients include artists, celebrities, sports people and high networth individuals. His areas of expertise are Divorce Law, Family Law, Divorce Mediation, Parenting Plans, Parental Responsibilities and Rights, Custody (care and contact) of children, same sex marriages, unmarried fathers rights, domestic violence matters, international divorce law, digital rights, media law and criminal law.

Domestic Violence – abuse may lead to murder

Domestic Violence, a threat to our society

The You and Huisgenoot Magazines recently asked my opinion and comment about a tragic murder that took place, when an ex-boyfriend killed his ex-girlfriend.  The story appears in the latest You and Huisgenoot magazines.

Catherine Krog (28) had overcome her addiction to drugs and turned over a new leaf for her three-year-old daughter, Bella.

She seemed confident and successful, had her own staff recruitment agency and tried to help friends who were addicts.

But the young mother knew that her ex-husband, Clint Walley (50), was stalking her and it was only a matter of time before he killed her, because no one could stop him.

Her body was found on 8 September in her Durban home. Next to her lay Walley’s body. He’d shot her in front of their daughter and killed himself.

So many people saw it coming, Cat’s parents, the mother and sister that she adopted, her private investigator, the police, friends, neighbours and relatives. Her ex-boyfriend was threatening and stalking her and facing charges for an unlicensed firearm, kidnapping their child and the court released him on bail of R 2000. The full story can be read in the YOU and Huisgenoot magazines of 16 September 2011.

Many abused women might feel they have no one to turn to for help, but divorce attorney Bertus Preller disagrees. “The law is there to protect you. There are many different legal avenues for victims of abuse to explore. Running away or continuing to endure the pain by staying in an abusive relationship are not the only problems. A restraining order is a court order designed to stop harassment. As a court order it prevents the abuser from contacting you or approaching you in any way. “If the abuser breaks the stipulations they can face a penalty or even jail time”. While the stipulations and restrictions in any order are different, violating it puts the culprit in contempt of court which means immediate arrest and the offender could be fined or sent to jail. “Usually the perpetrator will be arrested, taken into custody and will have to appear in court to explain why the order was violated. A suitable punishment, either a fine or prison sentence, will then be decided on”, Preller says.

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Emotional abuse is often minimized, yet it can leave deep and lasting scars.

What is a domestic relationship?

You can have a domestic relationship with – someone you are or were married to; your parents or guardian; any family member(s); including your own child(ren); anyone you have lived with, whether you were married to that person or not; your life partner of the same sex; someone you went out with, even for a short time, or had sex with; or someone with whom you share a child.

What is domestic violence?

The following may be regarded as domestic violence:

  • sexual abuse (whether you are married or not);
  • physical abuse or assault (slapping, biting, kicking, and threats of physical violence);
  • damage to property or anything you value;
  • stalking (when the person follows or approaches you or your children repeatedly);
  • economic abuse, that is, when the other person keeps money to which you are legally entitled from you in
    an unreasonable manner by –
    • refusing to pay or share the rent or mortgage bond for the home you share; or
    • disposing of any property (household goods) in which you have interest, without your permission;
  • emotional abuse (that is, degrading or humiliating behaviour, including repeated insults, belittling, cursing and threats);
  • any other controlling or abusive behaviour which poses a threat to your safety, health or well-being.

What are my options if I am being abused?

You have the right to –

  • apply for a protection order at the nearest police station or
  • magistrate’s court; or
  • lay a criminal charge at the police station and apply for a protection order.

What is a protection order?

It is an order issued by a court at your request, ordering a person with whom you have or had a domestic relationship, to stop abusing you. It may also prevent the person from getting help from any other person to commit such acts. An interim protection order can also be issued at any time of the day or night for your protection.

Who can apply for a protection order?

Any victim of domestic violence may apply. Children, and if they are too young, a parent or guardian, or any person acting on behalf of someone who is responsible for them, but with their permission.

What can I do if an abuser disobeys a protection order?

Phone the South African Police Service. Thereafter a statement will be taken from you. Provide the police with the warrant of arrest you received together with the protection order (if you have lost it, apply at the court for another one). If you are in immediate danger the abuser will be arrested, otherwise the abuser will be given a notice to appear in court the next day.

About Bertus Preller

Tel: 021 422 1323

email: bertus(@)divorceattorney.co.za

Bertus Preller is a Divorce  Attorney in Cape Town and has more than 20 years experience in most sectors of the law and 13 years as a practicing attorney. He specializes in Family law and Divorce Law at Abrahams and Gross Attorneys Inc. in Cape Town. Bertus is also the Family Law expert on Health24.com and on the expert panel of Law24.com and is frequently quoted on Family Law issues in newspapers such as the Sunday Times and Business Times. His areas of expertise are Divorce Law, Family Law, Divorce Mediation, Parenting Plans, Parental Responsibilities and Rights, Custody (care and contact) of children, same sex marriages, unmarried fathers rights, domestic violence matters, international divorce law, digital rights, media law and criminal law.

Divorce – will your standard of living determine your maintenance? – The Van Der Westhuizen Case

Divorce – will your standard of living determine your maintenance?

Van Der Westhuizen v Van Der Westhuizen [2011] ZAGPPHC 30

 The facts

In a counterclaim during their divorce trial, the wife, claimed maintenance in the amount of R 68 794 per month. She also claimed a resettlement allowance of R3 million alternatively an order directing  Mr. Van Der Westhuizen to contribute to the cost of  her accommodation in the sum of R25 000 per month, escalating at 10 % per annum, plus an order that he pay to her the sum of R500 000 to enable the her to purchase the necessary furniture and household appliances for the her new accommodation. At the commencement of the hearing her counsel informed the court that she seeked only an order that her husband pay maintenance her in the sum of R44 502, alternatively, R42 102 per month and the sum of R500 000 to enable her to purchase the necessary furniture and household appliances for her new home.

The following issues had to be decided by the court:

  • whether the husband should be ordered to pay maintenance to the his wife; and if so;
  • what amount is to be paid to enable the wife to purchase household necessaries in order to establish a new home; and
  • what amount is to be paid to the wife in equal monthly payments to enable her to support herself.

For about 15 years of the marriage Mr. and Mrs. Van Der Westhuizen lived in two very large luxurious houses in the affluent suburb of Waterkloof, Pretoria. These houses had just about every conceivable facility and no expense was spared in the design and finishes of the houses and the interior decorating. They were also accustomed to dining out at least two to three times a week, usually at Italian restaurants or steakhouses. The couple also traveled overseas once a year and when they did flew business class. They also had a month holiday at the sea every Christmas. The husband owned a luxurious seaside home at Port Alfred where the members of the family would get together.

During the trial the wife listed the events under which it was assumed that her husband committed adultery with a certain Mrs. de Beer. Her husband had also paid R28 000 for Mrs. de Beer to have a breast augmentation procedure performed and despite his denials that he was involved in a relationship with her prior to 15 November 2008 the most plausible probable inference was that he was involved with her. Apart from paying for the breast augmentation procedure for Mrs. De Beer Mr Van Der Westhuzen insisted that this be kept from his wife. Mrs. Van Der Westhuizen was prepared to forgive her husband and to continue with the marriage despite his adultery and despite the fact that he was in a relationship with another woman.

 The Law

When a court has to make an order for spousal maintenance by the one party to the other, the court may take into account the existing or prospective means of each of the parties, their respective earning capacities, financial needs and obligations, the age of each of the parties, the duration of the marriage, the standard of living of the parties prior to divorce, their conduct insofar as it may be relevant to the break-down of the marriage and any other factor which in the opinion of the court should be taken into account, make an order which the court finds just in respect of the payment of maintenance by the one party to the other for any period until the death or remarriage of the party in whose favour the order is given.

In terms of section 7(2) of the Divorce Act the trial court has very a wide discretion to determine the question of  spousal maintenance requirements – see Beaumont v Beaumont 1987 (1) SA 967 (A) at 987E; Katz v Katz 1989 (3) SA 1 (A) at 11A-C and Swiegelaar v Swiegelaar 2001 (1) SA 1208 (SCA).  The court is not only limited to make an order for equal monthly instalments. The court may also order payment of an initial amount to enable a party to purchase household necessaries to establish a new home – see Swiegelaar v Swiegelaar supra paras 12-15. The court must conclude that in the light of all the relevant factors (i.e. those specified in the subsection as well as any other which, in the opinion of the court, should be taken into account) it is just for the order to be made – see Buttner v Buttner 2006 (3) SA 23 (SCA).

Before the commencement of the Divorce Act it was said that no maintenance will be awarded to a wife who is able to maintain herself and that a wife cannot expect to enjoy, after divorce, the same standard of living that she had as a married person. However it is clear from the factors enumerated in section 7(2) and the wide discretion which is conferred on the trial court that it is not bound to refuse a wife’s claim for maintenance simply because she can support herself – see Nilsson v Nilsson 1984 (2) SA 294 (C) ; Rousalis v Rousalis 1980 (3) SA 446 (C); Grasso v Grasso 1987 (1) SA 48 (C); Pommerel v Pommerel 1990 (1) SA 998 (E) and that the court may award her maintenance that will give her the same standard of living. It will always depend on the facts and circumstances and what the court considers to be just in the light of these facts and circumstances. In this regard it is significant that the factors to be taken into account are not listed in any order of importance and that there is no indication of the weight to be attached to each of these factors. The court is free to have regard to any other factor which, in its opinion, ought to be taken into account in coming to a just decision.

The court ordered Mr. Van Der Westhuizen to pay R 35 000 per month and R 275 601 within 10 days of the order

A party in pending divorce proceedings is also able to claim interim maintenance pending the divorce by way of Rule 43 of the High Court Rules. In addition to claiming maintenance the application can also be used  to protect a party who doesn’t see his or her children as much as he or she wants. In the Rule 43 you can ask the court for an order entitling you to spend more time with your children and be awarded more contact rights to your children than you are currently being allowed.

In 2010 this came up in another divorce matter in the divorce of an ex South African rugby player Joost Van Der Westhuizen  and well known singer Amor Vittone. Her husband was seeking more contact to his children and a Rule 43 application was brought to court for this.

According to media reports in the You magazine of 28 October 2010, him and Vittone had not lived together as husband and wife for 18 months.  Accordingly You reported that,  Van Der Westhuizen had his minor children with him every second weekend, and also often had them with him in the afternoons when he fetched them from school and then dropped them off afterwards at their residence with their mother. Van Der Westhuizen approached the court to vary the  arrangements and wanted more contact to the children. According to the reports, his spouse contended that the contact  exercised was sufficient.

Egskeidings Prokureur gee raad oor egskeidings

Egskeiding Prokureur Kaapstad – Abrahams en Gross Inc.

Bertus Preller is in beheer van die Egskeiding en Familiereg Afdelings by  Abrahams en Gross ‘ n regsfirma in Kaapstad. Die firma is reeds in 1935 gestig. Hy word beskou as een van die top egskeiding prokureurs in Kaapstad en hanteer egskeidings en familie reg sake regoor Suid Afrika.

Wat is belangrik in ‘n egskeiding saak?

Wat belangrik is in enige egskeiding saak is strategie. My benadering tot enige egskeiding of familiereg dispuut is om dit so gou as moontlik te skik, in my klient se guns natuurlik of tot voordeel van beide partye waar ek namens beide van hulle optree. Die voordeel is dat dit dan koste-effektief is en minder emosionele letsels laat. Egskeiding, ongeag hoe vriendskaplik dit is, is altyd vol emosie en nooit maklik nie. Waar daar wel ‘n geleentheid is om te rekonsilieer moet beide partye dit ten alle koste probeer. ‘n Gesonde samelewing is die gevolg van ‘n stabiele gesinslewe en daarom is egskeiding nie altyd die uitweg nie. Ek glo dat baie egskeidings in die eerste plek nooit moes plaasvind nie.

Wat is die koste verbonde aan ‘n egskeiding?

Dit is belangrik om te onderskei tussen “vriendskaplike of onbestrede egskeidings” en “vyandige of bestrede egskeidings”. Waar die partye wel kan ooreenkom oor die verdeling van die bates, onderhoud en by wie die kinders gaan woon na egskeiding en watter vorm van toegang die ander ouer gaan kry is dit soms beter om gebruik te maak van ‘n selfdoen of DIY egskeidingsdiens soos eDivorce. In ‘n Onbestrede egskeiding kan die koste tot so min as R 950 wees indien beide partye gebruik maak van’ n aanlyn-doen-dit-self, of DIY egskeidingsdiens soos eDivorce, http://www.edivorce.co.za.  Wanneer partye gebruik maak van ‘n prokureur kan dit enigiets van R4500 af kos. Regskoste kan wissel na gelang van die kompleksiteit van ‘n egskeiding saak.

Hoe lank neem ‘n onbestrede egskeiding?

‘n Onbestrede egskeiding kan gefinaliseer word binne ‘n paar weke. Afhangende van jou prokureur kan dit enigiets neem van 3 tot 6 weke. In die hantering van egskeidingsaangeleenthede, doen ons gewoonlik ons bes om dit te probeer afhandel sou gou moontlik en benader ons elke saak om die bes moontlike resultaat tot verkry. Groot omstrede egskeiding aangeleenthede, waar meer bates op die spel is, kos ongetwyfeld meer en kan baie tydrowend wees.

Hoe lank neem ‘n bestrede egskeiding?

‘n Bestrede egskeiding kan tot 3 jaar of selfs langer neem om af te handel en die koste daaraan verbonde kan honderde duisende rande beloop.

Waarop is jy geregtig as jy binne gemeenskap of buite gemeenskap van goedere getroud is?

Indien jy getroud is binne gemeenskap van goedere, is jy geregtig op 50% van die gemeenskaplike boedel en as jy getroud is buite gemeenskap van goedere met die aanwasbedeling, is jy geregtig op die helfte van die verskil van jou en jou gade se aanwas, indien sy aanwas groter was as joune. As jy getroud is buite gemeenskap van goedere sonder die aanwasbedeling voor 1 November 1984, sal jy geregtig wees om te vra vir ‘n herverdeling van bates, wat behels dat jy in staat kan wees om 50% van die gesamentlike bates op te eis, maar indien jy getroud is buite gemeenskap van goedere sonder die aanwasbedeling na 1 November 1984 sal jy slegs kan eis vir onderhoud.

Wanneer is jy geregtig op onderhoud?

Daar is verskeie faktore wat in aanmerking geneem moet word om te bepaal of jy geregtig sal wees op lewenslange onderhoud. Jy kan onder sekere omstandighede ook rehabiliterende onderhoud eis. Rehabiliterende onderhoud is waar een gade die ander vir ‘n tydperk betaal, bv. vir drie jaar of meer.

Ek het nie geld om te skei nie, wat nou?

Jy kan ‘n hof aansoek bring hangende die finalisering van die egskeiding om tussentydse onderhoud te verkry, terwyl die egskeiding in die proses is, jy kan jy ook in so’ n aansoek eis dat jou gade ‘n bydrae maak aan jou regskoste.

Watter raad kan jy vir vrouens gee wat wil skei?

  • Kry soveel finansiële inligting oor jou eggenoot moontlik, maak afskrifte van al die bankstate, kredietkaart state, sowel as ‘n skedule van al die bates en laste, bronne van inkomste, ens.
  • Stel ‘n gedetailleerde begroting van jou huidige maandelikse uitgawes en inkomste op. Vir jou en jou kinders maak voorsiening vir toekomstige uitgawes.
  • Jy kan selfs aandring op die sessie van’ n versekeringspolis op jou gade se lewe in die geval dat hy/sy gestremd raak of sterf om jou onderhoud te verseker.
  • Poog te alle tye om aan te bly in die gesamentlike woning (as dit naby aan die kinders se skool of jou werk is). Die feit dat die kinders bly in die omgewing waaraan hulle gewoont is sal meer stabiliteit teweeg bring.
  • Onthou dat jy nie noodwendig altyd die oordragkoste hoef te betaal vir ‘n eiendom wat aan jou oorgedra word tydens jou egskeiding nie. Jy kan verskeie opsies met betrekking tot die eiendom uit oefen, byvoorbeeld deur dit te behou en jou gade se gedeelte oor te dra op jou naam of dit te verkoop en die netto wins te verdeel ens.
  • Maak seker dat jou egskeiding Skikkingsooreenkoms ‘n bepaling het wat tot gevolg het dat jy beslag kan le op jou eggenote se salaris in geval hy nie onderhoud betaal nie.
  • Sorg dat jou egskeiding Skikkingsooreenkoms so opgestel word om ‘n deel van enige bates te bekom in die toekoms wat jou eggenoot dalk weggesteek het, en waarvan jy nie bewus is op datum van egskeiding nie.
  • Moenie skik vir minder as waarop jy geregtig is nie, baie vroue neem eenvoudig die pad uit as gevolg van emosionele druk. Onthou dat egskeiding altyd ‘n sake-besluit is en die besluite wat jy nou maak sal ‘n impak jare later in jou lewe he.
  • Egskeiding kan baie frustrerend en emosioneel wees en dit neem tyd en strategiese beplanning. Moenie van prokureurs verander in die proses bloot as gevolg van jou eie frustrasie nie.
  • Onthou dat jou ex se bates ook insluit aandeelhoudings in maatskappye, aftree-fondse, pensioenfondse en selfs belasting terugbetalings.
  • Dink met jou kop en nie met jou hart nie.
  • Onthou om jou testament te verander binnekort na die egskeiding.

Bertus Preller is ‘n egskeidings prokureur in Kaapstad. Hy spesialiseer in egskeidings en familiereg sake by Abrahams en Gross Ing en is ook die Familiereg kenner by die Health24.com forum, Co-Parenting forum en op die deskundiges paneel van Law24.com. Hy word dikwels aangehaal in koerante soos die Sunday Times, Sunday Tribune, Business Times, asook tydskrifte soos Noseweek, Huisgenoot en You aangehaal oor familiereg en egskeidings. Hy spesialiseer in egskeiding, familiereg, mediasie, ouerskap planne, ouerlike verantwoordelikhede, bewaring sorg en kontak van kinders, ongetroude vader regte, huishoudelike geweld sake, interdikte en internasionale egskeidings.

E-pos adres :bertus@divorceattorney.co.za
Hotline Nommer: 083 5334428
021 422 1323

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