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Divorce: e-communications not as private as many think

With the technological revolution that has engulfed the globe over the last 20 years or so, individuals' lives are becoming more and more open for public viewing. This is particularly true of social media accounts. Although most individuals in Louisiana expect a certain level of privacy when it comes to their social media accounts, text messages and emails, the fact of the matter is that they may not be as private as one thinks.

In fact, there are a whole host of apps available to consumers that help them track their spouse's movements and communications. Some may think these are great ways to keep tabs on their spouse, especially if they suspect infidelity, but these individuals need to be careful. If the individual's spouse has a reasonable expectation of privacy on an electronic device, then using these apps could be a federal offense.

Yet, electronic communications can come to light when divorce proceedings kick off. Typically, each side to the dispute will engage in discovery, where documents and information are exchanged. This often includes emails, text messages and social media accounts. Failure to turn this information over could lead to a contempt of court finding, which nobody wants.

Those who know they are headed for divorce should be aware of the likelihood of their electronic communications being discoverable. With this in mind, they should refrain from using electronic forms to engage in communications that could work against them. Those who have questions about how electronic communications can help or hurt their divorce cases, as well as family law issues such as child custody, child support and alimony, may wish to discuss the matter with a family law attorney.

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

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