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Private data may not be so private in a Texas divorce

Monday, July 16, 2018

Most adults in this country own a smartphone and maintain a presence on social media. While technology provides immediate access to information and allows constant contact with others, potential lack of privacy is an ongoing concern. Several privacy issues arise when considering use of technology in Texas divorce proceedings.

Data may not be totally private when wireless storage is used. Videos, photos and other information saved on a personal phone could be viewed by others who also have access to the wireless storage. The information would be considered legally shareable if a person has permission to access the storage device. This situation is very common if a couple had a shared wireless data plan before filing for divorce.

In the past, private investigators were frequently used to determine if a spouse was unfaithful. However, technology has afforded several ways to prove infidelity today. Social media may reveal questionable behavior while a variety of apps offer tracking capabilities that can determine a spouse's location. So-called spy apps allow couples to view each other's contact information and message history. There are also apps that enable a user to recover data that has been deleted.

This advanced technology can raise potential privacy issues in the midst of a divorce. Information such as cell phone usage and social media postings are often sought as evidence in the divorce proceedings. Courts frequently order the parties involved to preserve this type of information. While an individual may be tempted to delete something from his or her devices, it is important to remember that the information is likely still accessible on a wireless storage device.

Those going through a Texas divorce often seek the help of a family law attorney. An experienced lawyer can provide guidance in privacy issues and all aspects of the process. Having strong counsel is an important component in obtaining a favorable outcome in a divorce.

Source: dmagazine.com, "In Divorce, Privacy is Sometimes Just an Illusion", Feb. 8, 2017

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