Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

In a Divorce, Who Gets Custody of Electronic Data? The Lawyers

What are some digital best-practices when going through a divorce?

For most couples seeking to end their marriage, divorce is unpleasant at best, and at worst, all-out war. Imagine being a public figure going through a divorce. There is simply no privacy.  This is certainly the case for former congressman Anthony D. Weiner and his soon-to-be ex-wife Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton. 

Mr. Weiner, infamously known for his Twitter indiscretions, is being exposed yet again through the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails.  According to one email, Ms. Abedin reportedly said, “her husband’s garbage is destroying her life.” How do we know this? Because nothing that goes over the Internet is ever really gone. Now, federal investigators are pouring through details of their personal lives the two never thought would be read by others.

Before you dismiss these events as inconceivable for a couple not in the public eye, take a moment and think about all of the ways we use our computers and mobile devices. Would you want everything you’ve said or done blown up on a poster in a courtroom?

Using Technology in Divorce Cases

It is rarely the case that attorneys don’t attach snippets of texts, emails or social media posts to pleadings and motions during a divorce. Electronic communications are the easiest way to see how someone really lives their life, despite what they portray to the judge. Divorce lawyers frequently scour social media profiles to determine the character of the individuals they are up against and to catch them in a lie.

Digital Best Practices for Divorce

Even the most private individuals can still leave an electronic trail that they may not want made public. If you are going through a divorce, here are the top 10 best practices for reducing the chance that electronic communications do not go to unintended recipients.

  1. Create a new email address
  2. Stop sharing calendars with your spouse (and children)
  3. Turn off tracking on your cellphone apps
  4. Create new security questions with false answers that only you know
  5. Secure all computers and digital devices with new security codes
  6. Have your devices checked for malware like key-logging software
  7. Ensure your texts and other digital communications are not popping up on devices that may be left with children in the care of the other spouse
  8. Do not erase data, including social media profiles
  9. Do make your social media profiles and streams private
  10. Do not post or write anything that you would not want to hear repeated in court (this includes voicemail).

Thinking About Divorce?

Before you do anything, talk to an experienced divorce attorney. Our competent and caring matrimonial attorneys can walk you through your options and ensure you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.  If you are considering a divorce, call the law offices of Gassman Baiamonte Gruner, P.C. today at 516.228.9181.

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