As news regarding the recent hacking of the website Ashley Madison has made abundantly clear, spouses are increasingly leaving footprints throughout the digital world that can eventually come back to haunt them. Far too many Internet and social media users continue to hold onto a false sense of security that they can control and limit the audiences that access and share their personal information and posts. This trend has only been further accelerated by use of wireless technology and devices that allow people to connect anywhere at any time, while offering the ability to post instantaneously.
Years ago, a suspicious spouse would have needed to hire a private investigator to obtain the kind of detailed information that can currently be accessed immediately with a single click or the tap of a screen. Nowadays, most people willingly carry around some kind of GPS wireless tracking device everywhere they go, all the while constantly updating their Twitter and Facebook accounts. In addition, many users now find themselves using their phone as a primary source to communicate in writing with others back and forth in the form of texts, instant messages, and e-mails. There is no doubt that smart phones and other wireless devices have had a dramatic impact on the ways in which we live every aspect of our lives, so it would be expected that the divorce process would ultimately be included in the mix.
Unsurprisingly, according to the most recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 97% of members have seen an increase in divorce evidence being taken from smart phones and other wireless devices during the past three years. In addition, an almost universal number of 99% of the respondents have cited a rising number of text messages being used in cases, while 67% have noted more evidence being gathered from apps. As might be expected, the top three apps for divorce evidence also mirror popular social media sites, with 41% citing Facebook, 17% choosing Twitter, and 16% noting Instagram.
In particular, posts on social media sites and texts continue to be real gold mines of evidence for a suspicious spouse because these messages are in writing, are coming directly from the other spouse in real time, and are all too often very public. Having a smart phone handy only serves to encourage a sense of impetuousness as a user will text and post updates far too quickly without even giving a second thought to the potential consequences.
Keep in mind that once you post something or send a text, it is difficult if not impossible in many circumstances to take it back or delete it. Instead, take a moment and ask yourself how you might feel if that message was one day being read back to you by an attorney or judge.