Is it legal to monitor the computer of a minor child not living with you?
My wife's ex has primary custody of their son. He has been caught enagaging in illegal activities, and his father has chosen to not be involved in addressing the situation.
He has a laptop that he brings when he visits us and uses on our home network. What are the applicable legal aspects with placing monitoring software on his computer, and with accessing it when he is with us, and when he is elsewhere, including at his father's residence?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Texas divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
I understand that you are concerned with your stepson’s activities and want to monitor if he is involved in any illegal activities for his own safety.
Fortunately, a parent does have the authority to monitor what their minor child is doing and therefore may place monitoring software on their computer.
Therefore, there should not be any negative legal aspects of placing monitoring software on your stepson’s computer and accessing it while he is in you and your wife’s possession and care.
Also, since the software is being placed on your minor stepson’s computer, and not his father’s computer, monitoring his computer activities while he is at his father’s home should not have any negative legal consequences either.
There is no expectation of privacy when it comes to a parent’s authority to control their minor child’s activities, especially when it comes to the best interest of the child.
With that being said, I would suggest that your wife, as a parent conservator, be the one to address the situation and determine whether to place a monitoring device on her son’s computer. This is because a parent conservator has certain rights and duties during their period of possession with regard to a minor child’s activities that are not considered illegal in nature.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.