Only a few short decades ago, telephones were landlines physically wired to a person’s home. Phones were used for making phone calls and little else. Nowadays, we use smartphones for calls, text messages, social media, searching the internet, shopping, and even paying our bills. Most people’s cell phones contain a shocking amount of personal information. Consequently, many divorcing spouses wonder how and when cell phone information can be used in divorce proceedings.
Gathering Text Message and Call Logs in a Divorce Case
The portion of the divorce in which both parties gather information is called discovery. Discovery often involves depositions, interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and other formal requests for information. Accessing evidence like tax documents or bank account statements is usually easier than gathering cell phone records. Unless a spouse willingly hands over cell phone data, which is unlikely in a contentious divorce, the most common way to get cell phone records is through a subpoena.
A subpoena is a request for information that must be followed by law. Some subpoenas require a third party to physically show up in court and present evidence or testimony. Others require a party to provide some type of evidence such as documents, records, or information. Divorce lawyers may issue subpoenas to cellular carrier companies like Verizon or T-Mobile requiring the companies to hand over cell phone data. However, cell phone companies can usually only provide records of when phone calls were made, who the calls were made to, and the duration of the call. The number and frequency of text messages may also be provided by the carrier, but a federal law prohibits cell phone carriers from divulging the actual content of the text messages in most cases.
To summarize, it is possible for cell phone records to be used in divorce cases. However, gathering cell phone information like call logs and text messages is no easy task. The data that may be gathered is also limited.
Contact a Naperville Divorce Lawyer for Legal Guidance
Data from smartphones may be used in a divorce case in certain situations. However, gathering that information may have its difficulties. If you are getting divorced and have questions or concerns about what types of personal information may be used as evidence, contact Goostree Law Group. Our DuPage County divorce attorneys have extensive experience handling complex financial concerns, child custody disputes, and other divorce issues. Call our office at 630-364-4046 for a free consultation.