Using Social Network Evidence in Family Court
The use of electronically stored information as evidence in family law
litigation has increased dramatically. Electronically stored information is
defined as "information created, manipulated, communicated, stored, and best
utilized in digital form, requiring the use of computer hardware and
software." The most common forms of this type of evidence include e-mails,
voice mails, text messages and, very significantly, information from social
networking sites. Because of the proliferation of this type of information,
the family law attorney needs to be familiar with the availability of this
type of evidence as well as the rules governing its admissibility.
The most striking change in the use of electronically stored information in
family law cases has been the proliferation of media accounts relating to
evidence found on social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace. In a
recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81%
of responders said they had seen an increase in the use of social networking
evidence during the past five years. In fact, the survey cited Facebook as
the "unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence," noting that 66% of those
surveyed cited it as a primary source.
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