Can Emails & Facebook Be Allowed in a Divorce Court?

by Beverly Bird
Electronic proof is usually fair game.

Electronic proof is usually fair game.

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The age of technology has added a whole new dimension to divorce law. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers conducted a survey in 2010 which indicated that 81 percent of its members had noticed a rise in evidence derived from social networking websites in divorce litigation. This evidence can be used to support allegations of affairs, drug use, alcohol dependency, a gambling addiction or many other factors that can be relevant in divorce. Depending on how you access the records, the information is typically admissible in court.

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Admissibility of Electronic Evidence

Several courts, including one in Connecticut, have gone so far as to order litigating spouses to exchange information such as passcodes, allowing each of them full access to the other's online accounts. Posts that are available to friends or even the friends of friends on social networking sites are not considered private. Thus, they're usually admissible, but this may depend to some extent on your state's individual laws.

Gathering the Evidence

Unlawfully obtained evidence is a different story; you can't hack into your spouse's personal computer to unearth it. Additionally, social networking sites are immune to subpoenas by federal law. Unless you come across something incriminating online and immediately print it out or otherwise make a tangible record of it, you probably won't be able to get documented proof from the provider. Act promptly to save yourself headaches, because your spouse may quickly delete or erase the incriminating evidence.