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Digital assets are important to protect during divorce

It is rare to find a Phoenix resident who does not use some form of social media account to connect with the masses and share with his or her friends. Whether it is Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat or something else, the ways in which a person can choose to connect and share online are at an all-time high. This can be great news for individuals who have no reason to suspect their lives are under scrutiny. However, for those individuals who are going through divorces, this is not always the case.

It is now a common practice for divorce attorneys to seek to discover the content of their clients' spouses' online profiles and social media accounts. These accounts, as well as individuals' email files, text caches, web-based calendars and other digitally-stored data can be accessed and used during divorce proceedings.

Legally obtained digital data can be admissible in court and can be used to demonstrate a person's financial situation, fitness for having custody of children and other important facts with significant legal consequences. If a person attempts to hide or conceal online information, those actions are often discoverable, and a person may face sanctions if he is found to have destroyed data during his divorce.

A person's life is no longer lived without a trail of electronic data behind it. In fact, most individuals can handle their social, financial, and professional obligations from anywhere that they have access to the internet. As such, a person's digital assets and information should be considered when he is subject to divorce proceedings. The information contained in those accounts may be discoverable by his spouse and may be used during his divorce trial.

Source: nytimes.com, "In a Divorce, Who Gets Custody of Electronic Data? The Lawyers," Johan Engel Bromwich and Daniel Victor, Oct. 31, 2016

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