TEXTING, FACEBOOK POSTS PLAY
COLOSSAL ROLE IN TODAY’S DIVORCE CASES
Texting is a convenient way of communicating with others – and, unfortunately, if you’re going through a divorce, can be evidence used against you in court.
According to a study of divorce lawyers conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 92 percent of attorneys surveyed said that they have seen a huge increase in the amount of divorce cases that involve evidence taken and used from mobile devices within the last three years.
Text Messages as Powerful Evidence
Text messages, in particular, have become very powerful. Attorneys from the AAML survey reported that text messages were used as evidence 62 percent of the time, while emails were used in 23 percent of cases and call histories were used in 12 percent. In addition, Internet search histories and information gathered from a smart phone’s GPS were each used in one percent of the attorneys’ cases.
“As smart phones and text messaging become main sources of communication during the course of each day, there will inevitably be more and more evidence that an estranged spouse can collect,” said Ken Altshuler, President of the AAML. “Text messages can be particularly powerful forms of evidence during a divorce case, because they are written records of someone’s thoughts, actions and intentions,” he said.
Social Media Information Just as Influential
Similarly, there has been an increase in the amount of evidence taken from social media sources. In a survey that the AAML conducted in 2010, 82 percent of divorce attorneys saw an increase in cases with evidence that came from social networking sites like Facebook.
Altshuler says that the electronic evidence from social media or smart phones can be useful because it takes a lot of guesswork out of a divorce case. “Texts, emails and Facebook posts have removed a lot of the he said/she said ambiguity from the divorce process because they represent written documentation,” he said in an interview with MSNBC. “In particular, text messages can often be the most incriminating pieces of evidence because they are regularly composed at the spur of the moment and can reflect raw emotions.”
As society relies more and more on mobile devices, it’s likely that Facebook posts and other correspondence like texting will continue to play a huge part in divorce cases.