Privacy is in a somewhat of a gray area in the digital age. Many of our personal and professional conversations take place by written word via email, Facebook and text messages. These mediums create a lasting imprint of our thoughts. A number of Alabama residents operate as if these communications are always private, but in reality that may not be true.
The use of cellphone records, Facebook posts and emails as evidence in divorce cases has been on the rise for some time. Those who are going through a divorce must be aware of this during the divorce process.
In a recent and controversial divorce case, U.S. Cellular released more than 50,000 of a woman’s text messages to her husband’s divorce lawyer. A state supreme court justice has since reprimanded the attorney and criticized U.S. cellular, arguing that this violated federal privacy law.
The man’s attorney reportedly subpoenaed text messages between the woman and another man, but U.S. Cellular also released texts between the woman and her doctors and lawyers.
The judge would like state and federal prosecutors to look into U.S. Cellular’s decision to release the privileged communications.
The future of that request remains to be seen. For now, it is a reminder that much of what one says in text messages and online during a divorce may end up being used as evidence. These communications often provide details of assets and spending, which can affect the property division process.
As noted by the case above, it is not always clear which digital communications are private and which are not. Even those that are private are sometimes released. Alabama residents may want to talk to their divorce attorneys about similar issues in their cases.
Source: Boston.com, “50,000 texts handed over in Maine divorce case,” Feb. 6, 2014