TICO BULL – This past week, Telenoticias (local channel 7 news) ran a series of reports on infidelity, adultery and divorce. The reports centred on proving a cheating spouse leading to a divorce.
In the last report they brought in a specialist, Pedro Beirute, a divorce lawyer, talking about the infidelity of a spouse, that it does not have to include a carnal relationship, but merely a romantic state of mind, with proof in the pudding as simple as a text message.
OK, did I miss something here?
In the old days (not so many years ago), getting divorced in Costa Rica was a royal pain. Easy to get married. See a notary (or lawyer who is also a notary, for in Costa Rica a notary is not necessarily a lawyer and a lawyer is not necessarily a notary, for the Civil Registry you need a notary and not a lawyer and a lawyer is not necessarily a notary, that can be a lawyer), sign the papers, pay the fees and in a few days, once the paperwork is filed with the Civil Registry, you are married.
Getting a divorce, however, was another matter.
One of the cornerstone being able to file for divorce was infidelity, catching and proving your spouse was “poniendote los cachos” (loosely translated, putting it to someone else).
Of course, the tradition of putting it to someone else was someone else of the opposite sex. Catching your wife with another woman, no man would dare make a ridicule of himself using that as reason for divorce. Catching your husband with another man, well Ticos are not gay, so no one would ever believe it. I am being facetious here, but you get my point.
No, it had to be a clear and cut case of catching your spouse with a person for the opposite sex, proving it with photos, letters, email, etc, etc, etc. And then, having to have been married for at least three years.
Today, divorcing in Costa Rica is as simple as saying I want a divorce. You both sign the papers, haveif filed and get married all over again. No waiting period. No proof in the pudding required.
BUT, not so easy simple is there are assets (money) involved. Then it is still complicated. And what better way to get more than your fair share? infidelity, of course.
But that was not made clear in the Telenoticias reports. The money angle (division of assets) of divorce and the reasons a spouse will go lengths to catch a cheater, was not brought up. Only, what you need to do to get proof to catch you cheating spouse, like using spyware, hidden cameras and hiring a private dick (investigator).
The reports never said, hey, if there is no money or both spouses can agree on their share, you don’t even need a lawyer, just a notary to file the divorce papers.
The reports left the “married” viewer with the idea that better stay put, do not cheat and if so, don’t get caught. Or better yet, hide the assets, be aware that your spouse may be spying on you, recording everything your say or do, keeping track of your movements through GPS, in short, living with the enemy.
For the “single” viewer, hell, I’m never getting married. Or again, if already done that, and got the t-shirt for it.
With today’s technology and social media, you know Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest, etc, etc, etc, getting proof is simple, can land you on the winning side of the divorce. But also in jail
As Beirute pointed out, in Costa Rica, looking over your spouse’s phone text messages and voicemail, or hacking into their email account could get you a stay at San Sebastian (the San Jose jail).
Privacy laws in Costa Rica are pretty strict. And the judicial system gets pretty zealous in enforcing it.
Checking your spouse’s text message or email without express approval, even if it is just lying around on the coffee table, the night stand, is a clear violation of privacy. The spouse victim can now file criminal charges. Remember, you used the evidence you gathered surreptitiously to win the divorce?