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Texting, Facebook playing a greater role in divorce

Technology has transformed the way we communicate. Our conversations are now recorded on Facebook, in emails and in text messages. While most of us do not take heed of our social footprint, it is important to remember that electronic communications can have a significant effect on the lives of Texans outside the digital realm.

According to two recent surveys conducted by a prominent association of family law attorneys, the use of electronic evidence is becoming a common trend in many divorce cases. Sleuthing spouses and private investigators can retrieve posts or images from social networking sites or texts and other data stored on a spouse's smartphone.

Two separate surveys from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers show that a vast majority of members have seen an increase in the use of evidence from social networking sites and smartphones. Around 94 percent stated that there has been a rise in the use of text messages as evidence.

Attorneys caution that digital social footprints are the easiest way to undermine a spouse's credibility during a divorce. Images posted on Facebook or messages sent to friends can quickly become evidence of one person's dishonesty.

Text messages can also be especially incriminating, because instead of saying something in the heat of the moment that can be misconstrued, the incriminating evidence is captured permanently.

Even if electronic communications are never introduced in a family law case, computer, cellphone and Internet activity can contribute to the demise of a union when one spouse uncovers proof of an extramarital affair. The bottom line, according to the group's president, is to never put anything in writing that you wouldn't want a judge to see.

Source: The Huffington Post "Getting Divorced? Stop Texting and Get Off Facebook," Ken Altshuler, Feb. 23, 2012

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