Written by: Tony Kehoe
Data from electronic devices can often make or break a divorce case. Data that is relevant to your case may be found on cell phones, laptops, home computers, tablets, or other similar devices. The most common types of electronic evidence are pictures, videos, text messages and emails. However, there could be much more evidence available that can be obtained when the data from the device is reviewed, such as internet browser history, telephone call logs, old social media posts, GPS location tracking and even recovery of deleted data. This data can be used to paint the picture of a person’s true character to a judge. It can also be used to discredit testimony or prove someone is lying. With that said, it is important to make sure you are obtaining the electronic evidence legally.
It is important to obtain electronic devices legally to ensure that the evidence collected is admissible in court. An example of what NOT to do would be using your spouse’s thumb to unlock their phone while they are sleeping. There is an expectation of privacy that exists when a password protects a device and attempting to bypass that password illegally could render the data you obtain inadmissible in court. Not only could your case suffer, but there may be criminal implications as well. One way to gain access to your spouse’s electronic devices is through the discovery process. Lawyers at Gailor Hunt can discuss with you in more detail how to obtain electronic data safely and legally.
Once a device is obtained, it is typically turned over to an expert who creates an electronic copy of the device. Since the device may contain attorney-client privileged or other confidential information, prior to reviewing the data there needs to be an agreement made with respect to what data may be searched. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, they may need to seek the court’s assistance prior to searching the device.
Can your cell phone be imaged? Can your spouse obtain a copy of your Facebook archive? What about text messages and emails? In our Podcast, Jaime Davis is interviewed by her interns Grace Massarelli and Olivia Daniels about evidence in child custody cases.