We all know about Facebook and divorce. Talk about evidence. But it seems that the smartphone is catching up and may have become the divorce lawyer’s new best friend.
Divorce and custody attorneys are using text messages and smartphone evidence at an unprecedented rate, according to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Ninety-two percent of respondents report seeing an overall rise in the use of such evidence during the past three years.
Most smart phone evidence pops up in contested divorces and custody trials, according to AAML president Kenneth Altshuler. Text messages are great for cross examination. They provide information on the state of the relationship (verbally abusive?) and rebut claims that one parent failed to communicate essential information.
In other words, smartphone evidence can really destroy — or enhance — your client’s credibility.
Altshuler thinks the uptick is the result of society’s increasing reliance on smartphones and text messages to communicate with family members and friends. As one of our main sources of communication, our phones contain data that represent our “thoughts, actions and intentions.”
That data is not limited to text messages. Twenty-three percent of respondents have seen divorce lawyers use e-mails stored on smartphones; 13% report the use of phone numbers and call histories; and 1% have encountered GPS and Internet search histories as a form of evidence.
It may be time you start combing your clients’ smartphones for evidence before you demand their case go in front of a judge.
- Smartphone evidence a boon for divorce lawyers (Yahoo News)
- Should Judges Consider Facebook Posts at Sentencing? (FindLaw’s Technologist)
- Should You be Using Facebook for Jury Selection? (FindLaw’s Strategist)