Can back ups of text messages, emails, and other on-line accounts be used as evidence in a divorce case?

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Can back ups of text messages, emails, and other on-line accounts be used as evidence in a divorce case?

I suspect my spouse of having an affair. He has copied back-ups of his text messages on the computer we share. The files are located under my user login and are not password protected. In regards to the emails and other on-line accounts, I have found questioning dialog in the communication. My spouse knows I know their password and could potentially log in at any time.

Asked on May 8, 2011 under Family Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) Text messages, emails, and other correspondence can certainly be used as evidence.

2) If the information is under your user name, on a shared computer, and not password protected, it may be the case that you can use them without incurring liability for invading his electronic privacy (e.g he may have no legitimate privacy expectation in this circumstance); you should consult with attorney first, before doing anything, who can evaluate all the circumstances first, since you want to make sure you do not do anything wrong by using these.

3) You also want to consult with an attorney right away, since if you can use this correspondence, you want to *immediately* take steps to legally preserve them, so your spouse cannot delete them.


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