More and more of our lives are spent on the internet, whether that is checking e-mail, updating facebook, online shopping, or reading blogs. Because so much of our lives are spent on the net, significant amounts of information are accumulated on our computers, phones, and e-mail accounts. This can include music, emails, phone numbers, and photos of us with family and friends.
An area where the use of the information has skyrocketed is in Allegheny County family law litigation. The information that is posted on social media sites, such as pictures, have an obvious use for family lawyers. Pictures can help your divorce case by showing that someone was not where they said they were, such as claiming that they were on a business trip, when really there are pictures of them sitting on a beach holding a drink with a new girlfriend or boyfriend. Similarly, if a spouse is claiming poverty and an inability to pay child support or spousal support, but at the same time just posted pictures of a vacation to a resort in Hawaii or a new car, then that information can be shown to the court to impeach their statements.
A new tool that can now be completed by electronic discovery experts (in consultation with your PA family lawyer) is what is called a metadata search. Metadata is potentially valuable information that is created along with the photo, status update, or e-mail. (This list is not inclusive. Electronic discovery can be used to obtain many different types of electronically stored information.) This metadata is information that is attached to the picture, such as who created the post, if the post was modified, and even where the post came from. That picture that was taken while your ex was on a secret vacation in Turkey during divorce proceedings, but wasn’t tagged? An e-discovery expert will be able to find out that information. Sometimes, the metadata can be more valuable even than the photo or the status itself.
E-discovery is a new and rapidly expanding field to be used in family law matters. While not practical in every family law case, the information that can be obtained from electronic discovery can play an important role in arguing your case. Our Pittsburgh family lawyers are aware of the best ways to use this information, as well as how to challenge it’s use by the other side. Contact our team today to discuss your case!