Not surprising, new research from Google shows that smartphone usage is surging globally. People use their mobile devices for just about everything these days and the trail of texts, calls, emails, and photos is not just spanning worldwide use, but is now following them into divorce court. According to a new survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), more than 90% of the nation’s top divorce lawyers report a recent spike in divorce cases that use evidence taken from smartphones, including Androids, BlackBerrys and iPhones.
“As smart phones and text messaging become main sources of communication during the course of each day, there will inevitably be more and more evidence that an estranged spouse can collect,” said Ken Altshuler, AAML president. “Text messages can be particularly powerful forms of evidence during a divorce case, because they are written records of someone’s thoughts, actions and intentions.”
At 62%, text messages are the most commonly used form of smartphone evidence in divorce proceedings. Email evidence follows at 23%, while phone numbers and call histories are used in 13%, according to survey responders. Internet search history and GPS and other location-based smartphone data are still only used rarely, but experts predict this kind of evidence is likely to show up more in the future.
What does this mean for you and your smartphone? For those contemplating divorce or legal separation, it may be wise to begin viewing every text, tweet, call, 4Square check in, and email as potential evidence your spouse’s lawyer could use against you during divorce proceedings. On the other hand, it also means that, if you haven’t done so already, you should safeguard your phone and passwords to reduce the risk an angry spouse will send out false emails and texts in your name – and then turn around and try to use these as evidence.
Remember, they are called smartphones for a reason. Use your own phone wisely.