Heymann & Fletcher

Understanding how digital information can impact a divorce

Many New Jersey residents make use of one or more forms of digital data. Whether it is through email, documents created and stored on hard drives or photos stored to the cloud, people's lives have increasingly become digital. When it comes to divorce, it is important to understand how digital data can be used to gain leverage during the divorce process.

Many people believe that once they hit the "delete" button, whatever they are trying to remove from their device has been permanently erased. In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth. It is incredibly difficult to effectively remove something from a computer, tablet or phone. In fact, it often requires the services of a professional.

Let it be said, no one should attempt to delete information that should be used to facilitate a fair division of assets or a child custody agreement. However, there is also no reason why a spouse should have his or her every move brought out during the course of a divorce. It is possible to cooperate with the standard divorce procedures of one's state while also maintaining a degree of privacy.

For those in New Jersey who anticipate a contentious divorce, it might be a good idea to sit down with a divorce attorney and discuss the role that digital data could play during the divorce process. At that time, be prepared with any questions concerning how to share information with the other party and his or her legal counsel while also allowing for privacy. When it comes to digital data, being proactive is important.

Source: The New York Times, "In a Divorce, Who Gets Custody of Electronic Data? The Lawyers", Jonah Engel Bromwich and Daniel Victor, Oct. 31, 2016

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