Digital evidence plays an increasingly larger role in separation proceedings. Specifically, the information contained on computers, cell phones, and social media can provide valuable evidence related to trial separations, permanent separations, legal separations, or even in relation to the reconciliation of the parties.
Separation vs. Divorce
In many ways, separation is not very different from divorce. In fact, a legal separation will still need to decide how to split property and child custody. So why not just divorce? Religious beliefs, cultural aversion to divorce, or even health insurance can be primary motivators to choose separation over divorce. For example, some insurance plans allow a separated spouse to stay on the other’s health insurance plans, thereby still protecting the family.
Family Law E-Discovery
How Digital Evidence can Impact Separation Proceedings
Whether the focus is on alimony, asset division, or custody arrangements, digital evidence is important. Following are common ways that electronic evidence plays deciding factors in a proceeding:
- Social media posts discussing lavish vacations, or expensive new cars can impact the amount of alimony payments. Sources include Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, just to name a few.
- Emails and financial records on one’s laptop detailing assets will influence property division.
- Also affecting alimony may be online records regarding one’s earning capacity based on educational or work history. Think about the information on LinkedIn or membership to certain professional associations.
- Custody and timesharing agreements regarding children can also be heavily influenced by social media postings. Imagine how a judge will view postings about extensive partying or drug use when considering where and with whom a child will live.
- Text messages frequently play a role in establishing or challenging a party’s credibility. Consider the case where one spouse has a history of disparaging the other through abusive text messages. This will surely negatively impact their credibility.
GPS and Location Evidence
Video and Microphones
Computer Forensics can Recover Deleted Digital Evidence
Before you get comfortable with the delete button, you must understand that common forensics techniques can recover deleted data. If you need to produce and review digital evidence in your separation case, give us a call. We collect the evidence remotely, so you don’t have to give us your device. Flat fee services, anywhere in the U.S. that FedEx or UPS delivers.