Divorce Process in Florida – Electronic Evidence

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The Divorce Process and Its New Enemy

When seeking divorce help, it is obviously important to grill your family law attorney about the usual suspects. You know, the division of property in divorce, alimony payments, child support laws, blah, blah, blah. What most family law attorneys fail to mention in educating their clients is a universal truth that all of us have painstakingly come to know in the last decade. Drum roll please…Facebook ruins lives. I mean, come on, if they didn’t want to make it so easy to stalk our love interest (or potential love interest or that cute personal trainer at the gym, wait, what?); they would have made it possible to see how manytimes someone has clicked on a person’s profile. To clarify, there isn’t a way to track that, right?! Just making sure for a friend of mine, of course.

What Evidence Can My Ex Use Against Me During Our Divorce Process

divorce helpThe cold, hard fact is that Facebook is implicated in a third of divorce cases each year. If you think you have outsmarted the old ball and chain by keeping your profile private and only allowing the frat pack or your yoga buddies access to your pictures, don’t go brushing your shoulders off just yet. Unfortunately, there’s a new three letter acronym that you never want to hear your partner has. Electronically stored information, or ESI, stores information like pictures, communications, and search and web browsing histories; the latter two categorized as electronically stored documents. Other sources for electronically stored information are cell phones, laptops and network servers. And, yep, you guessed it, the information derived from ESIs and ESDs are discoverable under the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure and have thereby become integral in our divorce process.

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Make Sure You Are Prepared for an Evidentiary Hearing

Before you go crazy trying to get rid of every illicit text between you and your newly resurfaced high school sweetheart, save your energy. Even after electronic data is deleted from one source, the messages can remain on the device and some communications companies store them for up to a few weeks. If you have mastered the art of being a total creep and already deleted all of your innuendo laden messages and pictures that may indicate you’re not spouse or parent of the year, you may want to sit down and have a nice glass of wine before you continue reading. Deleted content remains part of your Facebook data and will show up when you have to fork over your downloaded account archive.

Panic setting in? Don’t trip chocolate chip. If you are seeking divorce help from a competent family attorney, there are plenty of objections to be made to discovery requests that seek information of this nature.  A good lawyer, who is up to date on the changes to the Florida divorce process, will ensure you are protected to the fullest extent or, alternatively, that no stone is left unturned digging up the dirt on your ex. After all, Hunter S. Thompson said it best, “In a society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”

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