Technology and Divorce – To Spy Or Not To Spy?
Are you thinking about getting a divorce? Do you understand all the legalities involved in utilizing the latest technology to build a case against your spouse?
Jonathan Marks, attorney and owner of The Marks Law Firm, appeared on TNtv to discuss how new advancements in technology are impacting family law.
In the first of a three-part TNtv segment, Marks discussed the impact emails, mobile devices, and social media are having on domestic litigation.
Marks indicated that newer technology is enabling individuals to discover information previously unavailable in standard investigations.
Being Your Own Private Investigator
A few years ago a husband or wife would hire a private investigator to follow their spouse throughout the day. The PI would take photos and gather up napkins and other items left by the husband or wife. They then would compile a report and present it to their client, for better or worse.
Now mobile devices enable the user to post their photos or comments online almost instantaneously. Mischievous behavior is posted on the web in front of the whole world. It can easily be captured and printed, and used in a family law setting or court room.
Technology is also making it easier to hide assets. Monetary devices such as Bitcoin provide opportunity for a spouse to put money away in digital safekeeping.
This technology has fostered a new type of “spying” which has come a long way from using a logger installed under a keyboard to monitor emails and strikes, to now utilizing an installed app on a cell phone which records all of one’s conversations and monitors their text messages.
It can also include camera recordings from a home security system. Since both spouses are aware of their existence, Marks indicated these type of recordings are admissible as evidence in a court proceeding. However, hidden web cams, where one spouse is unaware of their existence, is illegal and should not be used.
Images from a community type computer in the home, such as one found in the kitchen, can also be used as evidence in a domestic suit as there is no expectation of privacy. Though Marks said it may be difficult to bring the device to a forensics expert who will need time to decipher the disk without the spouse and family members realizing the computer may be missing.
He also said that a business laptop should not be taken for any type of scrutiny. The employer of the spouse in question may consider this an invasion of privacy. Taking the device to a forensic specialist could liable the person to some sort of civil damages.
For those anticipating problems from the get-go, Marks says a pre-nupital agreement can be written to prevent any type of social media from being used in a divorce proceeding. This provides an insurance policy for the husband and/or wife to avoid major damages at a later date.
More information will be available in TNtv segments two and three or by contacting The Marks Law Firm at 314-993-6300.
Watch Part 1 of our interview with Jonathan below!