Smartphones: Assuming strong relevance in evidence gathering

Given today’s rapidly evolving and “smart” technology embodied in mobile devices, it seems almost nostalgic and akin to older times envisioning a hired detective doing the legwork in compiling evidence in a divorce matter.

Of course, outside evidence gathering by detectives and other parties continues to be an important component in some divorces, but — and as we have noted in past blog posts — relevant evidence in a divorce matter is sometimes as close these days as the Facebook page staring out from a computer monitor.

Or the smartphone that is always in the hands of a spouse. A recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers indicates just how common that device has become as a font for relevant evidence in a divorce case. More than nine out of 10 members of that organization say that they have noted an obvious uptick in evidence in recent years that has been taken from iPhones and peer technologies.

That should probably not appear as too surprising to users of such devices, who readily note that they do just about everything except the family shopping. A smartphone sends texts, transmits and receives emails, lists phone numbers, provides a ready history of past calls, allows for Internet access (and reverse tracking) and does — with the constant barrage of new “apps” — a host of other things as well.

As such, it is a rich vein of information that can provide, as one divorce attorney notes, “particularly powerful forms of evidence during a divorce case.”

A person thinking about divorce — especially one with an easily traceable online presence and history and a propensity for engaging the newest mobile technologies — might want to think about that. Today’s fun and convenient smartphone could easily enough become tomorrow’s nemesis in a courtroom battle involving assets, custody, child support and other divorce-related matters.

Source: Chicago Daily Herald, “Lawyers using smartphone data in divorces,” Feb. 11, 2012

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