We recently posted about the proliferation of Facebook posts as evidence in divorce cases. It appears that Facebook and Twitter posts are now being used to show that parents are unfit for primary child custody or that a spouse gave inconsistent statements about where they were or what they were doing. Facebook posts are also being used in some alimony cases to illustrate that a spouse now has a live-in partner and that alimony should be discontinued.
Similarly, text messages and smartphones are also appearing as evidence in many divorce proceedings. In some jurisdictions text messages are being used as evidence in two thirds of divorce cases. Phone numbers and call histories are also being used in some cases.
The amount of evidence which can be used against a parent makes it important to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side. A divorce attorney can help keep parents out of trouble by advising parents on what is appropriate to post during a divorce or child custody dispute. It is also important to hire an attorney who is familiar with how local courts work and can prepare a thorough case that will be most effective in front of the particular judge presiding over the case.
It is generally best to assume that anything that is present on a phone is fully recoverable and useable in court. Phones like the Apple iPhone may also store far more information than its user is aware of, including time-stamped screen shots and location history. This makes it important for a client to hire a technologically savvy attorney who can spot the potential issues in a divorce or child custody case before they arise.
Source: Tom's Guide, "Divorcing Couples Using Smartphones as Legal Weapons," Jane McEntegart, Feb. 12, 2012