Attorney Van Smith has seen a tremendous rise in the number of divorces ensuing because of social media messages found. It is important that you have an attorney who knows and understands the importance of these social media messages in your divorce case. Attorney Van Smith and his colleagues at Smith Strong, PLC have much experience with social media in divorce (and custody) cases. The attorneys know what can be used, how to search for specific social media messages that could be helpful to your case, and how to protect you from the pitfalls of living in a world where information on the internet is available to everyone. 

Cell Phones and Text Messages

Text messages are an obvious form of evidence that can be used in your divorce case. Flirty text messages or inappropriate photos being sent to someone other than your spouse seem obvious as something that can be used against the sender. 

However, text messages sent to friends or family that express anger or frustration about a spouse or child can be helpful to your case, too. If your ex-spouse sends a text to their friend talking about how annoying the child is, this can be used to show the spouse’s state of mind and disposition towards the child. This can be helpful in determining custody and visitation. 

It is important to save or create a copy of text messages found on your spouse’s phone. You play a role in collecting and preserving evidence found on a phone, along with the attorneys at Smith Strong. The attorneys at Smith Strong, PLC can work with and subpoena the cell phone company to provide a record of the text messages, or you can provide them for your attorney’s review if you have access to them (i.e. can take screenshots of the conversations and print them out). 

The cell phone company should be able to provide a copy of text, call, and usage logs. Additionally, the company should be able to provide a record of text messages sent and received to the specific phone number. Most phone companies keep your records for two years, with some larger companies keeping records for longer periods of time. Either way, your attorney can access text message and phone log records through a court ordered subpoena to the phone company. Attorney Van Smith and his colleagues have done this numerous times in divorce cases. 

If you find your spouse’s phone laying out in the open on a table, and decide to sneak a peak, you can look for evidence of adultery or spousal misconduct. You can then take screenshots of the messages or photos on your own phone and provide copies to your lawyer. These messages can then be used to help your case in all aspects of the divorce proceedings, including the divorce itself, custody and visitation agreements, and determining support amounts.

Cell Phones and Call Logs

Cell phones are not just useful for finding incriminating text messages. Call logs can also be helpful in a divorce case. If you have a joint phone plan, as most married couples do, you can simply log into the account and look at the calls made to and from each spouse’s line. This can be used in favor of your case or against your case, depending on whether you made the calls. Attorney Van Smith has experience representing clients on both sides of the situation. He has experience in representing people who have sent text messages and made phone calls to a special someone besides the spouse, as well as representing clients who have found flirty texts or suspicious numbers on their spouse’s phones.

Social Media

Social media has become a mecca of information for divorce attorneys. With people posting information and updates about their daily lives through Facebook posts, tweets, or Instagram photos, it is easy to find information about a person’s day-to-day routines. Information found on social media can tell what a person does each day, with whom, and what their reactions and emotions were towards these events. 

GPS Location Tracking

GPS has become a feature available to everyone. Gone are the days of using maps and asking a gas station clerk for directions. 

We have seen individuals locating their spouse through the GPS app on their phone with a look in recent locations. With the internet, it is easy to Google the address and find out where it is, whether it is a business, or who lives there. 

It is illegal in Virginia to attach a GPS tracking system to someone’s car without their consent. However, licensed private investigators are a common resource to follow your spouse. Private investigators can follow and collect evidence of a cheating spouse that can be used in your case.

Social media, text messages, and call logs can be used in divorce cases to uncover hidden assets or income, provide proof of spousal misconduct, or provide evidence of poor parenting behavior. It can also be used to prove and calculate child and spousal support. Therefore, it is crucial to have an attorney who understands the ins-and-outs of social media. Contact the attorneys at Smith Strong, PLC for a case-specific plan and analysis of your divorce case. The attorneys have much experience in using social media in divorce cases and can help you today.    

Special thanks to co-author and fellow researcher, Hayden-Anne Breedlove for her contribution with this article. Hayden-Anne Breedlove anticipates graduating from the University of Richmond School of Law in May of 2019.

H. Van Smith
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