How Smartphones and Social Media Can Be Used Against You in Divorce

Many phones can be accessed as easily as swiping across the screen. Even with advanced security features, some individuals can easily access the information stored on a Smartphone. This information can also be used as evidence in a court of law.

With sophisticated computing technology and features which far surpass a basic cell phone, Smartphones are the wave of the future. But are they also the folly of the many going through a divorce.

Smartphones are basically hand-held computers which store upwards of 30 gigabytes of information. Emails, contact information, text messages[1]​, social media applications, memos, reminders, calendars, voicemails, photos, and more.

With a large storage capacity and the combination of cloud storage, there is a vast amount of information readily available to those who know how to access it, and to those with a warrant to obtain it. Despite the red flags, many leave themselves vulnerable. For those engaging in activity that a spouse would find unacceptable, it is hard to hide clues when using a Smartphone. A suspicious spouse can easily find a way to collect the information they are looking for.

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, there has been a significant spike in evidence from Smartphones being used in divorce proceedings. The most significant is found in text messages and emails, then call history, internet search history, and GPS location tracing.

The best advice a lawyer will give you, is to never allow yourself to be fooled by the “security features” Smartphones offer. Do not use your Smartphone for any purposes that you are not fully prepared to have made public. Do not use your Smartphone in a way that you are not prepared to have your spouse made aware of. Years ago it was, “Do not put pen to paper.” Now, it is, “Do not tweet if you do not want little birdies talking”.

How Social Media Affects Divorce

With the rampant trend of social media use, needless to say many have found the importance with linking studies with marriage and divorce. One study[2] was published in the journal, “Computers in Human Behavior” by researchers from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and Boston University. It focused on comparing state to state divorce rates to per-capita Facebook accounts. They then utilized a separate inquiry involving a survey from 2011-2012, which quantified marriage quality and social media usage[3].

Not surprisingly, the study noted a direct correlation between social media use and a decrease in marital quality. This comparison remained relative regardless of the model used. In fact, it remained in approximation across every model, repeatedly. This study by no means is empirical evidence, however, the comparative figures are a strong indicator that social media is a prime factor.

Studies such as these are very difficult to prove, because of the fact that there are variables to be considered. It is the same pretext as a study linking alcohol consumption with violence. This cannot be proven absolute, however, studies have shown the link to be valid.

Social media has proven to be an effective way to share information, events, photos, and meet new people. The main concern for divorce attorneys is the privacy factor. regardless of a password protected personal page or website, the information held therein is admissible in court. Many consider their actions to be of no consequence or “a private affair”. As many prominent divorce attorneys note, this is simply not the case. Not only are social media accounts brought forth into court more and more during divorce proceedings, as many have testified, they are the reason for the divorce to begin with.

Be sure to keep in mind when using social media; unless you are prepared for your spouse or a courtroom to witness your actions on your social media account, refrain from sharing photos from locations you should not be, posting on someone's wall you have no business speaking with, and using the ‘Check In” locator option to show where you were. This is especially true during a divorce. Most attorneys tell their clients to refrain from social media use completely until after the final divorce judgment has been produced.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What can you use as evidence in a divorce?

There are many things that can be used as evidence in a divorce. Some of the most common things used are witness testimony, text messages, and pictures. What type of evidence would best help you depends on what you are trying to prove.

Can a diary be used as evidence in divorce?

A diary may not be enough on its own, but it can be effective in addition to other things. If it is your own diary and you have instances you want to share with the court, the diary can help add credence to your testimony. This is especially true if it is a diary on your phone or something similar that has time stamps on entries.

What are findings in a divorce?

Findings of fact are part of the forms needed to finalize a divorce. The findings outline what the judge found to be true in the case. These facts are meant to be the basis of the orders for things like property division and child custody.

Can text messages be used during a divorce?

Yes, text messages can be used as evidence in a divorce case. The text messages could be used to prove things like prior agreements or threats to your safety.

Can text messages prove adultery?

Text messages can prove that someone cheated. However, adultery does not need to be proven to get a divorce in Wisconsin.

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