Electronic Data and Divorce: What You Should Know (Part 2)

Electronic data can leave a trail of breadcrumbs for your spouse’s divorce attorney


Thank you for joining us again for the second installment in this two part series on electronic data and how it influences divorce. In the first article we discussed the first three critical things you need to be aware of, when it comes to electronic data, if divorce is on the horizon. These were, your use of social media, the need to change all of your passwords, and the importance of separating yourself from all shared accounts. Moving on, we are going to address the next four items.


  1. Be aware of GPS

This can be interpreted many ways. On the one hand, know that posting pictures on social media, even if the pictures themselves seem innocent, can be a trap. Photographs taken with cell phones may store GPS coordinates in their metadata, allowing your spouse’s attorney to discover exactly where you were, and when.


On the flip side, there is the issue of your phone’s GPS, which will keep track of your movements and keep a running tally of all the places you have been to. However, while this sounds like a prime searching spot for spouses checking up on each other, the law in Michigan is very clear about how much a person can invade another person’s privacy, even if that person is your spouse. So before you try your hand at some detecting, check with your attorney to make sure that you aren’t breaking the law!


  1. Always back it up!

Make sure that any and all important information that you want or need in the future is backed up somewhere that only you have access. This includes everything from copies of financial and medical histories, to wills and pictures of your children. You have no idea what information a spiteful spouse could destroy, simply to make your life harder!


  1. Don’t delete anything!

It may be tempting to delete certain things from your phone or computer, but don’t do it! Deleting information is considered to be ‘spoliation of evidence’. This refers to the “intentional, reckless, or negligent withholding, hiding, altering, fabricating, or destroying of evidence relevant to a legal proceeding.” Deleting data can get you into a lot of trouble during your divorce, so if there is information you would like to dispose of but aren’t sure if it is acceptable, talk to your family law attorney.


  1. Know the law

There are a number of things that we see spouses doing in movies to prove their partner’s guilt, which look great on screen but are actually illegal in Michigan. Things like using ‘spy apps’ which allow you to access their phone activity are against the law. The same goes for using a tracking device on their car and reading their texts and emails when they’re not looking. If you have questions about what you can and cannot do, talk to your attorney!


Divorces can be a lot more complicated than your realize and the law is not always as obvious or self-explanatory as we would like it to be. So if you are considering divorce in Michigan, and aren’t sure what the step step looks like, come in and talk to our experienced family law attorneys. We have been helping people all over mid-Michigan through their divorces, and on to better futures. Call us today at 517-886-1000. We are here to help you.


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