Today, cell phone technology has often proven a double-edged sword. As our phones become smarter, they also leave digital trails that can help or hinder us, depending on the circumstances. In family court settings, incriminating phone records are often used as evidence in more and more divorce proceedings. Consequently, if you suspect that your spouse has committed adultery, their cell phone records may provide some serious evidence against them. Divorce attorney Juan Luciano is here to discuss Can Phone Records Be Used To Prove Adultery.
Where Phone Privacy Begins and Ends
Phone carriers have privacy policies that protect an account holder from others outside the account, including spouses and family members. A cell phone company would need a court order before releasing any private phone records to others.
But when spouses share a phone plan, these privacy protections no longer apply. As authorized users on the account, both spouses can have access to any records on the shared account. Even if spouses arrange for their own plan at some point, any records during that shared time on the account can be accessed by the other.
Using Phone Records to Prove Adultery
When a spouse suspects adultery, the information in any of their shared phone records can be used against the other. Even if the suspected spouse elects not to provide those records, your attorney can petition the court to get them from your carrier.
But when providers retain records, these typically only indicate the identities of the involved parties and the date and time of the call or text, but not the exact content of the messages. The device itself can often provide more exact records of the content of the communications. Consequently, it is important for a spouse who suspects adultery to preserve message content on their own as much as possible.
Text Messages And Other Data
Today’s cell phones are extremely advanced and capable of holding a remarkable amount of data, similar to a personal computer or laptop.
Any texts between your spouse and another party, photos, emails, group chats, or other communication can be found on a cell phone and provide a great amount of incriminating evidence. A skilled divorce attorney will look at all potential sources of data in order to uncover evidence of adultery.
In some cases, an adulterous spouse will try to hide their behavior by purchasing and using a second cell phone for that communication only. You or your attorney should look for any suspicious other phone lines that may be in your spouse’s name.
How Cell Phone Records Can Affect Your Divorce
Your divorce will be affected by the information on your phone and the type of divorce. Although there are two types of divorce, each state has its own rules when it comes to divorce. There may be options for a no-fault divorce in New York depending on your circumstances as a couple. A no-fault divorce is when one party does not claim the other was responsible for the divorce. New York is one of the states that has fault divorces which means that one party claims the other caused the divorce.
Your spouse could use your phone records to prove that you were involved in adultery. His lawyer and he may use any evidence that they find to negotiate a better settlement. Your spouse may present evidence to the court if you are unable or unwilling to reach a settlement. It doesn’t really matter what your phone records contain if it’s a no-fault divorce and it’s unlikely that your spouse would try to get your phone records in such a situation.
Other Ways That Evidence of Adultery Can Hurt Someone During a Divorce
Not only is adultery grounds for divorce, but it can also be used in other considerations made by the court during a divorce.
Evidence of adultery may be considered when the court weighs a spouse’s “moral fitness” in child custody matters. If the evidence suggests that the individual’s behavior has had a negative impact on the child, the court may decide to limit that person’s custody and parenting time.
Evidence of adultery can also weigh against the adulterous spouse in matters of marital property division. Although New York is an equitable distribution state, if evidence shows that your spouse has used marital assets for gifts, rent, or other expenses for the non-marital relationship, the court can consider this when awarding partners their share of the marital assets during property distribution.
If you are considering a divorce, there are many important matters to think about. It is important to get the skilled legal advice of an experienced New York divorce attorney. At the law offices of Juan Luciano Divorce Attorney, we have represented clients through some of the most challenging times of their lives. Call us at (212) 537-5859 or contact us through our website for an initial consultation to discuss your needs.