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Smartphone Data in Divorce Cases

 Posted on April 07, 2017 in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneysOver the last few years, a new trend has emerged within the practice of family law. According to a series of surveys conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), information taken from a person’s smartphone—including stored text messages and app data—is now being utilized more than ever in divorce cases. Nearly all of the attorneys who participated in the studies reported an increase in the amount a digital evidence being used in divorce cases in the last five years.

A Changing Industry

In previous generations—before the proliferation of digital technology and the advent of of smartphones—suspicious spouses often turned to private investigators to dig up dirt for leverage during divorce negotiations and proceedings. An investigator’s findings—along with bank records and credit card receipts—could be used to show that a spouse was cheating or to question the spouse’s character.

Today, it is often much easier to gain access to a spouse’s phone or tablet, especially for those on shared family plans. Virtually every attorney surveyed—99 percent—reported that they have used text messages as evidence of some kind in a divorce proceeding. Two-thirds said their clients pulled data from smartphone apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

No More Fault Divorce

It is important to understand that the law in Illinois was changed at the beginning of 2016 to eliminate all fault-based grounds for divorce in the state. This means that is no longer necessary to prove that a spouse cheated or was repeatedly abusive. Thus, in many cases, the need for evidence or proof is generally decreased.

There are, however, situations in which smartphone data could still be helpful to your case. For example, if you believe that your spouse has been wasting or devaluing assets, you could find text messages or social media posts boasting about purchases your spouse has made. This evidence could be used by the court to hold your spouse accountable for any and all wasted property.

Smartphone data could also be used in situations where you suspect that your spouse may be abusing alcohol or drugs. Such concerns are especially important if you and your spouse are engaged in a dispute over parental responsibilities or parenting time. If the evidence shows that your spouse has a serious problem, he or she could be ordered to seek help before he or she is permitted unsupervised time with your children.

Let Us Help

If you are considering a divorce, contact an experienced Naperville divorce attorney to learn more about your available options. Call Pesce Law Group today at 630-352-2240 for a confidential consultation.


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