Friday, January 11, 2013

Illegally obtained evidence in divorce & custody cases

All family and divorce lawyers are seeing a dramatic increase in the role of the Internet (including Face Book posts) and social media play in their cases.  People are communicating via email, connecting on social media, dating sites, using GPS devices, intercepting text messages on smart phones and intercepting communications by their spouse on their computer.  People are also impersonating other people on the Internet.  Now we have appls. that allow people to change their voices -- how do you know who you are truly talking to these days?  Some state legislatures have just begun to pass laws prohibiting impersonating someone else on the Internet.

You need to be aware that there are also federal laws which can be brought into play with the use of the Internet and accessing someone else's computer.  You are violating someone's expectation of privacy.  The laws that were originally passed in the 1960's to cover telephone wiretapping are being expanded now to cover the interception of information in our rapidly expanding technological advancements.  

You might find that your divorce attorney does not want to discuss or even know about any of your potentially illegally obtained "juicy" information.  

As I write this, for the first time, some attorneys are currently being threatened with litigation, for knowing that their former clients may have potentially acted illegally in obtaining this type of evidence.  The attorneys are having to defend themselves in court.  This area of the law is so new that the legal system don't know how the judicial system is going to determine the attorney's liability.  If the client acted on his/her own - is the attorney liable?  Therefore, attorneys are now telling their clients to destroy any potentially illegally obtained evidence since the attorney does not want to be sued or possibly lose their law license for possible ethical violations.  It may take several years before the final decision is determined this I'm sure this matter will be appealed through the judicial system and laws will be revised to accommodate our constantly evolving technology.  


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