March 9, 2012

Divorce and Smartphones

The Star Tribune ran an interesting article captioned “Divorce? Hide your smartphone.”  As an Oregon divorce lawyer, the article rang true to me about how much smartphone technology has made previously private conversations public and permanent. Smartphones, texts, Facebook, and GPS features of smartphones add a whole new twist to the classic court “he said, she said’ arguments.

It’s now common for a potential client to show texts or email exchanges or facebook posts during a consultation.  I commonly ask clients in preparing for hearings and trial what digital information might be out there that would assist in getting the Judge a good picture of what is really happening. For example (1) texts to the kids can show whether a parent is actually supportive of the other parent’s relationship with them or not; (2) if you need to be looking for a job for self support, your phone could show you spending the whole day searching non job related websites; and (3) Facebook posts may show what is actually going on in someone’s life vs. what they are telling the court.

So what to do with your smartphone? From your lawyer’s perspective, assume anything you text, email, blog, or post could be read by a judge in your case.