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Technology Challenges when Facing Divorce

Use of technology in our modern lives creates challenges for Texas couples facing divorce or child custody issues.

If you are contemplating filing for divorce or initiating a child custody suit, the first tip is to make sure that anything you post on social media, whether your account is private or not, is something you will not mind a judge or jury reading. Social media is often a great source of evidence against a party who is not savvy enough to heed this warning. Generally, you are well advised to make sure you do not post anything self-incriminating, or anything disparaging about your partner. Turning to social media may seem like a great way to get some much needed support - but airing relationship disputes is often unwelcome and embarrassing for people scrolling through their news feeds. Your social media "friends" and "followers" do not want to know the details of your marital struggles. Social media may feel like it is "private," but it never is.

Change your passwords to your own individual accounts at the outset of a divorce or child custody suit. Make sure that the email account you are using to communicate with your lawyer is one to which only you will have access. People sometimes make the mistake of assuming their emails are private. Yet, if they are backing their devices up to a shared account, the other spouse may have access to these highly confidential communications.

Sharing videos and photos was great while you were a couple. However, that changes when you enter into a legal process.  Make sure you shut down any photo sharing files. When you are taking screenshots of accounts or social media postings, you do not want your photos automatically uploading to a shared Dropbox or iCloud account.

If you are passing devices down to your children or other family members, make sure you make a back up of the files, and then follow the factory reset instructions. Even though files look like they have been "deleted," they do not go away permanently. So you want to be careful you are not inadvertently providing the other party with information they can use against you in a civil family law proceeding.

However, before deleting any possible evidence that could be used against you, you need to consult with your lawyer to make sure you are not breaking any rules or laws by deleting social media posts, wiping out devices, or otherwise making relevant information obsolete. Doing so can result in penalties and fines if you are not careful.

Also, you need to be wary before installing any kind of technology that could violate privacy and wire-tapping laws. Acquiring information surreptitiously can lead to more trouble than it's worth, especially when there are valid legal ways to gather evidence.

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Hargrave Family Law Jennifer S. Hargrave, P.C.

Hargrave Family Law
4201 Spring Valley Rd.
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Dallas, TX 75244

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