Skip to main content

Divorcing Couples Using Smartphones as Legal Weapons

Smartphones are a wonderful invention that have enriched our lives and made everyday tasks more manageable. However, a knock-on effect of our reliance on these smartphones is that they pretty much know everything about us. So, really, it shouldn't surprise that divorce lawyers are apparently seeing more and more cases where the evidence used was taken from a smartphone.

All Things Digital's Ina Fried cites the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in reporting the news. According to the AAML, the majority of the organization's members say they've seen a 'sharp rise' in the number of cases citing evidence taken from both smartphones and text messages. AAML says that text messages are the most common form of evidence being presented (62 percent of the time), followed by email (23 percent) and phone numbers and call histories (13 percent). It's apparently still rare to see people highlighting GPS data or internet searches.

"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," organization President Ken Altshuler is quoted as saying in a statement. "Text messages can be particularly powerful forms of evidence during a divorce case, because they are written records of someone’s thoughts, actions and intentions."

Earlier this year, a study from Divorce-Online indicated that Facebook is now being mentioned in one third of British petitions for divorce citing unreasonable behavior. The study was a follow-up to a survey carried out in December 2009, when the divorce blog discovered that 20 percent, or one fifth, of petitions for unreasonable behavior contained the word 'Facebook.' In December of 2011, Divorce-Online conducted the same study, using the same sample size of 5,000 behavior petitions, and found that this 20 percent had risen to 33 percent.

Follow @JaneMcEntegart on Twitter for the latest news.