Not-so-smart use of smartphones leads to divorce decisions

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Divorce on Monday, April 2, 2012

Many states are so-called no-fault divorce states. This essentially means that one party does not need to have evidence to prove the other party is at fault in order to be granted a divorce. If there are irreconcilable differences, that is enough to be granted a divorce. Missouri is a no-fault state. That said, there are reasons why it can be beneficial to have certain kinds of evidence during a divorce.

A recent news report indicated that smartphones and social media sites are increasingly being used as evidence in divorce court. This electronic evidence can be used during child custody disputes as well as spousal support determinations and any post-divorce modification. Electronic records exist via text messages, GPS data, emails, voice mails, calendar entries and more. Our Missouri readers are probably well aware that any posting on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter should be considered public information.

Recently, 92 percent of 800 divorce attorneys who were surveyed said that they’ve had more cases in the past three years that have used smartphone records as evidence during divorce proceedings.

There are many potential ways in which this electronic data could be used.

  • Prove a person was, or was not, at a location when he or she claimed that it was impossible to retrieve the children from childcare.
  • Prove a person is not really looking for a job, but is instead spending hours playing video games.
  • Prove that a person has been hiding assets in an attempt to avoid discovery and division of marital property.
  • Prove that an ex-spouse has been bad-mouthing the other parent, or otherwise being disrespectful in front of the children and contrary to the court orders.

Most of the issues where evidence could be used revolve around either children or money. It is no doubt a good idea to never put anything in writing that may be harmful if a family law judge were to see it.

Source: Detroit Free Press, “Smartphones provide easy evidence for divorce layers,” Mark Morris, March 20, 2012

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