A Warning about Cell Phones & Text Messages

Like it or not we live in the 21st century and that means computers and cellular telephones are apart of our everyday life. If you are contemplating divorce or in the midst of a divorce or custody battle you should know that your computer and cellular phone can be your best friend or your worse nightmare. Your spouse maybe able to access your computer, e-mail, and cell phone records.You need to take precautions to protect where you have surfed and what you have downloaded. If not, when it comes to Court time–You maybe doing what in Washington is called the “old two step”. All too often, as you contemplate your future, you begin to search the internet for information on divorce, custody and law firms. You go to divorce pages and then you download articles, just like this one, so you can review later. What you don’t know is that you are leaving a trail a mile wide for anyone, including your spouse, to see what you have been doing on the computer and where you have traveled in the vast ocean of internet information. You need to cover your tracks by taking some easy steps. For example, in Internet Explorer go to “Tools” and under the “General” tab delete files temporary internet files and history. You must do this every time you are going to exit the program. Do not save a page as a “Favorite”. If no one has access to your computer then having a quick reference to Favorites works well, rather then having to search the internet to find the site again.E-mail has become the communication favorite of millions of people and companies, including lovers. What you do not know is companies constantly back up their servers with your unread and undeleted e-mails maybe included. This means that a lawyer can subpoena the e-mail provider, i.e. “Yahoo’s” records and you maybe defending embarrassing statements, pictures and cards. One way to avoid this is to read your e-mail often, then delete and go into the delete folder and delete the message. This two step process also applies to the sent folder.

Chat rooms are another dangerous area. The person on the other end, who you think at the moment, is a friend, maybe copying and saving your chat.

Another area of concern is the use of cellular phones and text messages. Most cellular phone companies have computer servers that save the telephone numbers of incoming and outgoing calls to a particular cellular phone number. The records of incoming and outgoing calls from a cellular phone can be damaging information in a divorce or other family law case. In addition, text message records are generally saved in the cell phone’s in-box or out-box for 30 days. These messages can be read by the opposing party if not immediately deleted from the cellular phone. A persistent spouse or opposing party can also seek to subpoena the text message records from a cellular company. The cellular companies have varying policies regarding the length of time that text message records are maintained by the company.

A special area of concern is protecting your confidential communications with your lawyers.  Please take the above precautions to make certain that the advice you’re receiving from your lawyer isn’t being read by the opposing party!