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The Impact of Technology on Family Law

Today,  our digital footprints are as significant as our physical ones. Because of this, the intersection of technology with family law has introduced complex challenges and considerations for individuals navigating divorce and family law matters in North Carolina. From smartphones and laptops to social media platforms and apps, technology’s influence can be felt in every facet of family law cases. This influence is reshaping how evidence is collected, scrutinized, and presented in court. 

In this piece, our North Carolina family law attorneys discuss the impact of technology on family law to help you avoid becoming the victim of high-tech legal tactics.

Smartphones and Devices: Your Digital Diary

Think of your smartphone as a digital diary that tracks your conversations, locations, and even spending habits. In a divorce case, the information on your phone can tell a story you might not want to share. Text messages, emails, and even photos can be used as evidence, painting a picture of your personal life, spending, and behavior, which can have a striking effect on custody, financial support obligations, and property distribution.

Let’s consider the divorce of Alex and Jordan. In seeking higher child support and spousal support, Alex has claimed financial difficulties. However, geo-location data from Alex’s phone showed frequent visits to high-end restaurants and tropical destinations, which are introduced as evidence by Alex’s spouse to contest Alex’s claims. As a result, Alex loses the requests to modify child and spousal support.

Tech Tip: Be mindful of what you text, email, or save on your phone. If you wouldn’t want it read aloud in court, think twice before hitting send.

Social Media: The Window to Your World

In the midst of a child custody battle, your social media can act like a magnifying glass on your personal life, sometimes revealing aspects you might prefer to keep private. Consider the case of Taylor and Morgan, who are disputing custody of their child. Taylor maintains a responsible lifestyle, necessary for primary custody, but Morgan’s lawyer presents Facebook and Instagram posts of Taylor frequently partying late into the night, often with drinks in hand, contradicting the responsible image Taylor tries to portray.

These social media snapshots can sway a judge’s opinion on what environment might be best for the child, potentially affecting the custody outcome significantly.

Tech Tip: Pausing your social media activity can be wise during such sensitive times. If you decide to keep posting, double-check your privacy settings and think twice about the content you share, particularly anything that might contradict the responsible persona you wish to present in court.

How You Can Avoid the Sting of Tech Mistakes in Family Law

With technology playing a big role in family law cases, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Privacy is key: Change passwords and secure your devices. Your ex shouldn’t have access to your personal information anymore.
  • Think before you post: Assume anything you post online could be seen by a judge. If it could be misinterpreted or used against you, don’t post it.
  • Consult your lawyer: Before deleting any potentially damaging information, talk to your lawyer. Deleting information could have legal repercussions.

The Bottom Line

Remember that your digital footprint can have a big impact on your family law matter. By being cautious with your personal electronic devices and social media accounts, you can protect yourself and your interests. Your attorney can guide you through the specifics, but a good rule of thumb is to pause and consider the potential implications of your digital actions.Divorce is tough, and the added complexity of our digital lives doesn’t make it any easier. However, with the right approach and guidance, you can navigate this digital landscape effectively, ensuring that your side of the story is presented in the best light possible. Contact our North Carolina family law attorneys today to learn more.