Texts, Spyware, Social Media and Divorce

Electronic communications such as texts, email and even posts on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are fast becoming the most important pieces of evidence in divorce cases. Unfortunately, the law has not yet caught up with this trend – especially when it comes to snooping – so how can you protect yourself before and during a divorce?

In fact, 94 percent of 1,600 lawyers recently surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) claimed that text messages had increasingly become the most damaging evidence in divorce cases. The same survey shows sharp increases in evidence via texting (62 percent), social media (81 percent) and emails (23 percent).

Here’s some tips on digital technology and divorce.

Protecting your digital assets

The most important thing you can do to protect your digital world is to change all of your passwords. Not only does this apply to your email and social media accounts, but to especially to the password that “unlocks” your smartphone. As texts have increasingly become the most common form of evidence in divorce cases, these sometimes emotionally-charged messages need to be shielded from potentially prying eyes.

Is snooping software legal?

Passwords are also important for your computer, laptop and new devices such as an iPad. Why? Some spouses try to obtain evidence (or even communications between their spouse and a divorce lawyer) by installing “snooping” or spyware software onto their spouse’s digital devices. Snooping software takes digital “pictures” every few seconds of incoming emails and other information, which can then be sent automatically to an email address.

As the legalities behind snooping software is often murky, most divorce lawyers advise their clients to refrain from becoming a cyber spy. Although social media posts such as on Facebook and Twitter are usually considered public, confidential emails are increasingly viewed as private. Therefore, installing snooping software to capture a spouse’s emails can be illegal and, therefore, not considered as evidence in divorce cases.

Worried about spyware?

If you are worried about spyware being installed unknowingly on your digital devices, there are anti-spyware programs that can detect them. However, not all anti-spyware programs can do the job thoroughly. Want to be certain you aren’t being “watched” by spyware? Take your devices to technicians who specialize in detecting digital spies.