A 2015 survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reveals a dramatic increase in the use of divorce evidence being taken from smart phones and other wireless devices in the past three years. The most frequently used source of evidence is text messages, but many are also seeing an increased number of apps being used in divorce cases, including popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
In the past, spouses looking to prove infidelity or other illicit behavior on the part of their significant other had to turn to private investigators to get the evidence they needed. Today; however, most if not all of that information can be readily gathered by accessing their spouse’s phone records. Nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smart phone. These small but powerful devices have changed the way we live, work, and communicate. Yet for all of the conveniences smart phones provide, many do not consider the consequences of having a device that can essentially keep track of everything its user does.
Smart Phones Provide Easily Retrieved Data
A smart phone can yield a veritable treasure trove of incriminating evidence that can be used in a divorce case. Of these, text messages and messages exchanged through social media are uniquely powerful because they include a spontaneous stream of communication between two people often composed in rapid fire without consideration of future consequences. They are a written record of the author’s thoughts, actions, and intentions complete with date and time stamps. This data can be easily retrieved by subpoena using state of the art equipment and computer forensics, even if the phone’s owner deleted the messages. Text messages and emails can go back several years and may be used to show evidence of infidelity, verbal abuse and other types of wrongdoing.
In addition to the written words of the smart phone user, the location of every place they visited can be electronically stored, even when the phone’s GPS feature is turned off. Likewise, all Internet searches and websites accessed are also stored within the phone’s memory, and in some situations can be used against a spouse in issues related to child custody.
Federal and State laws regulate the interception and collection of electronic communications. Individuals wishing to use smart phone evidence in their divorce case should take care before conducting their own surveillance or investigation of their spouse. Contact a qualified Towson divorce lawyer to find out what you are and are not allowed to do in regards to reading your spouses emails and text messages. Failure to follow the rules could result in the exclusion of the electronic evidence and possibly subject you to legal sanctions.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles Offer High Quality Representation in All Matters of Divorce and Family Law
If you suspect that your spouse is using his or her phone for nefarious purposes, or if you believe you are being spied on, call our experienced Towson divorce lawyers to discuss your legal options. At Huesman, Jones & Miles, we compassionately care to help clients sleep at night. Call 443-589-0150 today to schedule an initial consultation or contact us online.