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How people are using smartphones to do divorce detective work

Smartphones are not only changing the way we communicate, they are also changing the way we divorce.

According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 97 percent of divorce lawyers throughout the nation said that they have noticed an increase in the number of divorce cases that involve evidence gathered from smartphones and other electronic wireless devices over the past three years.

The most common electronic evidence being used came from text messages, but emails and call histories were also commonly cited in divorce cases, the survey indicated.

Evidence was also gathered from phone applications such as Snapchat and Find My iPhone, which is essentially a GPS tracking service that people can use to locate their phones (and spouses).

Essentially, suspicious spouses are now able to take the detective work into their own hands instead of having to hire a private detective, which was necessary in the past. People today “willingly carry around some kind of wireless tracking device everywhere they go,” the president of the AAML said in a statement.

What’s especially interesting is that all 50 states now recognize no-fault divorce, so a spouse doesn’t necessarily need proof — such as text messages sent to a mistress — in order to come out ahead in the divorce. However, there are certain times in which a spouse who was cheated on can use this evidence to his or her benefit.

For example, if the cheating spouse spends martial funds on a paramour, the innocent spouse might be entitled to half of those funds as part of the property settlement.

Additionally, evidence that one parent is treating the other parent badly (or otherwise misbehaving) can be used against the offending parent in child custody cases.

Talk to an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for more information on how evidence gathered from smartphones or other electronic devices can be used in family law cases.