Lawyers often speak about how the law is a living thing, and how it evolves over time. This applies to the field of divorce/family law as well. One of the factors in the evolution of the law is the influence of technology. Some examples:
- A Maryland court recently held that a 1993 marriage conducted over the phone was valid.
- An Indonesian official in West Java asserted his right to divorce his wife via text message, under Islamic Sharia law.
- According to Divorce-Online, a survey indicated that Facebook was listed as a factor in one-third of divorces filed in England in 2011.
A quick review of the various smartphone apps reveals numerous apps for helping people prepare their divorce, weigh their pre-divorce finances, or calculate their child support. As our world’s technology advances, there is an effect on divorce and family law. While I wouldn’t call such effect an “advance” in divorce/family law, there’s no denying that it’s a change.
Some assorted things to think about in your divorce/family law matter, as affected by technology:
- Use of Facebook information as evidence in family cases is widespread. Many people may think they can post their updates to a limited amount of people, without their ex or soon-to-be ex seeing this info. This is a fallacy. That picture of mom/dad out drinking when it was their night to watch the kids? Expect it as an exhibit against them in a future custody case. Be smart when posting.
- Texting is being conducted like a phone conversation. People are texting with their exes or soon-to-be exes as if they were speaking on the phone, when they should be treating it like writing a letter or sending an e-mail. The difference? Texts, like letters and e-mail are preserved for evidentiary purposes, typically unlike phone calls.
- Need to check your e-mail. E-mail is more commonly being used for exes to notify one another about things, especially about the children. When parties are averse to speaking with each other, the courts often instruct parents to notify the other parent about children’s issues via e-mail. Think visitation time changes, special events (birthday parties, school performances, sporting events), and passing on important information (legal custody issues like medical instructions and school correspondence).
These advances in technology shouldn’t require us to be computer whizzes to get divorce or fight for custody, but rather that we should be noting the level of tech expectation when it comes to dealing with others. To discuss more specific issues about dealing with your ex or soon-to-be ex, give us a call at (808) 593-2199.