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Electronic evidence used more frequently

March 18, 2008

Electronic evidence used more frequently

Updates in Michigan Family Law, March 16, 2008

They say that cheaters never win. Although that’s often the case, proving the infidelity of a spouse through electronic evidence is not as easy as one might think. According to Steve Worrall, author of the outstanding Georgia Family Law Blog, not all electronic evidence can be used against an individual in the way that you might think. In other words, it all depends on how that evidence was produced. In Georgia for example, laws prohibit computer theft and some forms of privacy invasion, potentially limiting a party’s ability to gather evidence from that computer.

“Generally, if the devices are not normally accessible to the person who has ‘broken’ into them, i.e. password protected, or are not owned by the person who is seeking to use the data, I have ruled out such evidence,” Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Billy Ray told Worrall in an e-mail. “If it is not your device, or if you are not a person who has access to it on a normal basis, my rulings have been that you can’t use it.”

We’re not surprised to read that 88 percent of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers members say they have seen a “dramatic increase” in the use of electronic evidence in divorce cases. Although we usually hear about e-discovery taking place in corporate settings, it’s obvious that it can take place anywhere. As Fulton County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Wright said, “Live your life like you’re living in a small town.”

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