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Phoenix AZ Family Law Blog

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Relationship Between Technology and Divorce Litigation

Can Certain Technologies Be Used as Evidence in a Divorce Case?

Certain technologies have the potential to create damaging evidence in cases relating to family law. In fact, more than 80% of divorce attorneys surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported an exponential increase in the evidence collected from social networking sites in the past five years.  In addition to social media, evidence from smart phones, computers and GPS devices can also be fair game. Both sides usually have access to this information, so potentially damaging information could be obtained from either spouse.

Smart phones

Most of us have our guard down when we use our smart phones. Text messages can be used as evidence of a person’s emotions, as well as who he or she is communicating with, relationships this person is involved in and where he or she is located. A cheating spouse may send a message to a lover. A text could show how money is being spent or where assets have moved.

Either spouse can subpoena the text messages from the cell phone provider. An unlocked cell phone could be looked at and reviewed. Spyware has been known to have been downloaded onto smart phones so one spouse could illegally track the other.  Therefore, smart phones can be the source of controversial evidence during a divorce or other family law dispute.

Computers and Email

If you have legal access to your spouse’s email account, emails sent by the address owner will be admissible evidence in court. Subpoenas to the internet service providers for records showing who owns the accounts from which the emails were sent can be issued.  

Do not write anything incriminating on a home or business computer, as these devices could be infected by spyware loaded by your spouse or subpoenaed by your spouse’s attorney.

Social Media Websites

Many of us write on social media as if it is a diary or messages that only our closest friends can see. The opposite is true. Once a posting is out there, it is out there. Posts can state where the person is, with whom, when and where, complete with photos and videos. Dating websites can tell the story of an otherwise hidden life. 

If you are on social media: stop posting. If you feel you must post, only write things that you want your spouse’s attorney to read. If you have made damaging postings about yourself and you try to erase or otherwise destroy these postings a judge may sanction you for your actions.

If you have questions about getting a divorce, how the process works and the evidence that can be used, call the divorce law attorneys at Cohen Family Law in Phoenix, Arizona at (602) 714-8898 and ask for your free consultation today.


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