Over the past three years, more and more divorce attorneys have seen information stored on cell phones, particularly text messages, used as evidence in divorce proceedings. Spouses and soon-to-be-ex-spouses are using cell phones not only to keep tabs on their significant other but also as proof of why a marriage cannot or should not be saved.
Texts aren't alone in logging the indiscretions of spouses. Email, Facebook, internet searches, GPS and even Twitter posts have been used to show infidelity. One example involved the use of Facebook pictures in a divorce case outside Georgia to prove that an ex-spouse was in fact able to work and should not be entitled to alimony payments.
The American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) recently conducted a survey of its member attorneys and revealed that 94 percent had seen an increase in text messages as evidence in divorce proceedings. 81 percent reported an increase in the use of social media-related evidence in divorce cases.
"As smartphones and text messaging become main sources of communication during the course of each day, there will inevitably be more and more evidence that an estranged spouse can collect," commented AAML President, Ken Altshuler. And, apparently, many spouses it seems, are not doing a great job of deleting the digital information related to their indiscretions.
Georgia, like a majority of states, allows couples to divorce without proving that either one is at fault. Called a no-fault divorce, this reason for divorce is basically a way of saying that the marriage is broken and cannot be fixed. There are 12 additional fault-based grounds for divorce, including adultery. Your family law attorney can decide with you whether a no-fault or a fault-related divorce is your best option.
Some caution that if your spouse appears attached to his or her phone and unwilling to share it, something may be going on. But, you must also be prepared to find exactly what you suspect before digging through your spouse's digital data.