Electronic Discovery in Divorce
Rhode Island Divorce Attorneys Using State-of-the-Art Technology
Years ago, people may have had only a note, a card, or a hotel receipt
as tangible evidence to prove infidelity, financial secrecy, or other
misconduct in marriage. Today technology provides us with a range of possibilities
for such discovery in a
Timothy Conlon discusses digital forensics in divorce
Providence Journal video by Steve Szydlowski
TJC ESQ is a family law firm in Rhode Island with significant experience
in electronic discovery and computer forensics. Attorney
Tim Conlon frequently lectures on this topic to legal associations, trial lawyers
and judges throughout the country. Our Rhode Island divorce lawyers consult
with other attorneys facing electronic discovery issues in divorce.
If you are facing divorce and searching for a lawyer experienced in these issues,
contact us online or by calling (401) 216-4414.
Methods of Electronic Discovery
Family law courts have increasingly relied on electronic evidence as a
means of determining the marital estate, or documenting the misconduct
of a party during the marriage when the parties face
family law firm that uses electronic discovery, we work with investigators to review the
- Text messages
- Computer hard drives
- Internet browsing history
- Online banking records
- Instant messaging history
- Calendar entries
The Wrong Way to Capture Electronic Evidence
When you stop and think about how much information is stored on hard drives,
on distant servers, through cloud storage, and so forth, you will realize
that digital information is
everywhere. Information that you think is permanently deleted usually still exists
in numerous places, many of which you have never accessed. Even when data
only existed on one physical hard drive, permanently deleting it is close to
Due to this abundance of potential e-evidence to use in a divorce case,
people are often tempted to do anything they can to get as much as they
can. When all avenues are explored, this drive to amass evidence and information
typically ends in using spyware to keep tabs on a spouse, or intrusive
computer viruses to crawl through their data and online accounts, copying
whatever could be of use. While this might sound useful, it absolutely is not.
Three reasons you should never use spyware or viruses to gain electronic evidence:
It is illegal: Using software that spies on another person or takes their data without
their knowledge is illegal both under state and federal statutes. If you
admit to such means in court, you should not be surprised if a bailiff
puts you in handcuffs before the session concludes. Conviction of using
spyware and similar software could sentence you to prison time and cost
It is inadmissible: Any evidence gathered through illegal means is inadmissible in any court.
If you use spyware to get data from your ex-spouse’s computer, cellphone,
tablet, and so on, you cannot use it in court. You could find a written,
validated statement that they were cheating on you and it would mean exactly
nothing to the judge because it was gained through illegal means.
It is morally questionable: There is no family law judge in the country that will feel comfortable
child custody rights to a parent who used illegal software to gain electronic evidence.
Resorting to such tactics will probably strip you of parenting time and
could result in you gaining less property through equitable distribution
as an unspoken form of courtroom punishment.
The only time you can grab digital information from a spouse or ex-spouse
is when the data is saved on a physical hard drive within your home and
within your shared possession. For example, if your spouse saved pictures
of their affair on the family computer in the living room, you could use
a flash drive to copy those image files for later use. It is always best
to consult with a professional Rhode Island divorce attorney well-versed
in e-discovery methods to ensure you never overstep a legal boundary.
Combining Technology and Legal Knowledge
Today's electronic discovery mirrors society's use of technology
in nearly every facet of life. The amount of information stored electronically
is astounding. As this information makes our lives easier in many ways,
the electronic 'trail' that is left behind by our activities grows.
Is there a voicemail in your (or your spouse's) email? Does that photo
in a cell phone contain information documenting when, and where it was
taken. That kind of information can be crucial evidence in a divorce case.
Attorney Tim Conlon is a frequently lecturer on the topic of electronic discovery, and understands
the complexities involved in this type of investigation. Other family
lawyers and law firms look to us for knowledge of electronic discovery in
uncovering hidden assets or an extramarital affair. Our firm is proud to offer the latest in technology
to clients facing divorce.
Find Out More by Calling (401) 216-4414
If you are interested in learning more about electronic discovery in divorce,
don’t hesitate to contact our team.
You can reach us by
calling (401) 216-4414 or
requesting a consult online.