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Warring couple

June 25, 2022
Warring couple
          What is my legal obligation to a married (for now) couple in Texas.  Installed a system with cameras at rented premise, got paid, got contract for monitoring and installation.  We use your All in One with no alterations.  Wife now wants system in her name; husband says that she has changed the log in, and he can’t see the system or cameras. 
          Husband is party that signed the agreements and made the payments via credit card; we use all of the correct forms for payment, disclaimer, etc.
          I have seen this scenario more than once on your forum; first time it has become an issue for us.  Thanks in advance for your “opinion”.
 Best regards,
          My opinion is that a prerequisite to an alarm license should be a course in marriage counseling, among others.  The best advice is learn how to imitate Sargent Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes; know nothing. 
          Your contract is with the husband, technically.  He’s also the one paying you.  What I don’t get is how the wife managed to change the passcode.  At his request you should change it to whatever he wants. 
          As long as the two of them occupy the house [lawfully] you should honor the contract, in this case signed by the husband.  Of course you could have made this question a bit more complicated if both husband and wife signed the contract; then you’re really in the middle.  In that case I’d say do nothing to change the status quo unless you get a court order or writing approved by both husband and wife, asking you to make changes to the system. 
          This comes up so often I am tempted to prepare a form letter to husband and wife explaining how the alarm company cannot get involved in marital dispute and must honor and continue to perform in accordance with the contract unless there is court order or all parties to the contract approve of modification to the contract regarding authority to make changes on subscribers’ behalf. 
          It may be a good idea to take a moment and consider what horrendous scenario could occur if you, the security company, is not careful when actively taking sides in a marital [or business] dispute and agreeing to make passcode or response policy based on the wishes of one party to the dispute.  An undetected breach of security resulting in personal injury, death, fire and property loss will involve the security company if it was involved in making changes prior to the loss.  I suppose this may occur less and less as systems are administered by subscribers directly with little or no involvement by the security company.  A battle of the “passcodes” would then be something the disputing parties would be dealing with on their own; don’t get involved is the best advice.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301