Digital evidence often plays a role in people choosing to divorce. In fact, experts say that as many as one-third of modern divorce filings may involve some degree of infidelity via online communication. What people do online can potentially play a major role in the decline of their marriages.
Digital forensics can provide a lot of evidence about someone’s social behavior and also their spending habits. What someone shares openly online is potentially accessible to anyone for use in court. However, sometimes those preparing for divorce take things a bit farther. They request digital discovery, which some people refer to as ediscovery.
Once one spouse requests digital discovery, digital forensics may play a role in divorce proceedings.
What can digital forensics uncover?
One spouse may have to provide access to social media records and other online activity to the other and their attorney. The records available may even include private and deleted contents.
Lawyers and their staff members can spend hours going over such records, and they will find something useful 81% of the time. However, you have to consider the family court value of that information.
Proving fault may not have as big of an impact as you might expect. Judges in California typically need to be fair in how they handle property divisions, support and custody matters. Infidelity and other misconduct rarely play a role in litigated divorce determinations.
The one exception is when social media records prove the dissipation of marital assets. Maybe one spouse sold the household electronics for $10 a piece, depriving the marital estate of thousands of dollars in property. Perhaps there was a lengthy extramarital affair that involved thousands of dollars in spending on hotels, gifts and restaurant dinners. Judges may alter property division determinations to reflect the dissipation of marital assets.
When couples have a marital agreement with one another that imposes specific financial penalties for infidelity, then going through the process of digital discovery may be worth the time and money invested. For the average divorcing couple, the investment of time and energy into poring over someone’s online behavior will not have an adequate impact on the outcome of their divorce to make the process worthwhile.
Reviewing your situation carefully to determine the value of social media and digital records can help you better strategize for your upcoming divorce.