As technology advances at an ever-growing rate, it seems that for many people having a cellphone is not good enough – they need smartphones that allow them to make calls, send text messages, search the Internet, keep calendars, take pictures and track locations with GPS.
People may want to use their phones cautiously, however. Every time a person uses a phone, he or she is unwittingly making a record of his or her actions and movements, and those records are showing up as evidence more frequently in Texas divorce and child custody proceedings. Those considering divorce in Texas should be aware of the kind of evidence that people can obtain from cellphones and how that evidence may affect their cases.
EVIDENCE FROM PHONES
According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 92 percent of the lawyers surveyed reported an increase in the number of cases where parties use evidence they obtained from cell phones. The survey showed that text messages were the most common types of evidence people gathered from cell phones, with 62 percent of survey respondents saying that text messages had played a role in their cases. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed said emails sent from phones were evidence in cases. Contact lists and call histories were also significant in 13 percent of respondents’ cases.
Experts note that using GPS data and Internet browsing history from cell phones is not common yet, but has the potential to be crucial evidence.
CELL PHONES IMPACT ON DIVORCE CASES
Parties can use evidence from cell phones in a variety of ways that could have a huge impact on how a court decides a case. For parents who are battling over child custody, text messages can show whether parties are lying about claims made in court having to do with the child’s schedule and how they would divide time with the child.
Phones can also indicate patterns of child abuse or neglect. If a person’s phone shows that he or she was making calls or at a specific location such as a bar or nightclub when it was that parent’s time with the child, it may show evidence that a parent is unfit.
Text messages, emails and call logs may also provide evidence of spousal abuse or harassment. Threatening emails or text messages and repeated calls can bolster a spouse’s claim of abuse.
SPEAK WITH A FORT WORTH TX DIVORCE ATTORNEY
Divorce can make a person feel like his or her life has been turned upside-down. Those considering divorce should not try to navigate the process alone. If you have questions about divorce, talk to an experienced divorce attorney who can offer guidance about your situation.