Can Cell Phone Records be Used in Court During a Divorce?

Most people are attached to their smartphones, which can include their email, records of calls, text messages, photos, and more. While you might believe that you have privacy when using your cell phone, these records are increasingly being used as evidence in divorce cases.

If you have a no-fault divorce and you and your spouse agree on the relevant issues in your case, there would be no need for phone records to come into play. However, in some cases, these records can be important evidence to prove your claims or defend against your spouse’s claims.

Proving Fault

Like several states, Maryland has the option to file a no-fault or fault-based divorce. Fault-based grounds include adultery, cruel treatment, insanity, and more. Some people choose to state fault-based grounds because there might not be a waiting period, and the fault of a spouse might be considered in divorce orders.

It can be challenging to prove fault in a divorce, but cell phone records can be valuable in this situation. You could present messages and other communications between your spouse and another person that indicate an adulterous relationship. You can also use past messages your spouse sent to you that demonstrate abuse or cruel treatment.

Financial Status

Having full knowledge of your spouse’s complete financial status is essential for property division and support orders. In some cases, you might suspect your spouse is hiding assets or concealing income to gain an unfair advantage in your divorce outcome. Cell phone records can help to identify financial transactions, gifts or extravagant purchases, offshore accounts, and more.

Child Custody

Sometimes, cell phone records can be used to win a child custody battle. If you believe your spouse is engaging in reckless or unlawful behavior, is mentally unstable, or might be engaging in parental alienation to turn your child against you, it is important to demonstrate this to the judge making your custody decisions. Cell phone records could provide evidence that your spouse should not have sole or even shared custody of your child.

How Do You Get Cell Phone Records?

If you need evidence to prove fault-based grounds, financial deception, or other aspects of your divorce claims, your attorney might determine that cell phone records can help your case. As part of the discovery process, your attorney can subpoena your spouse’s cell phone records. A subpoena is a formal legal order for a party to allow access to information or evidence in a legal case.

These records can be subpoenaed directly from the phone company. This is important because it prevents your spouse from having the opportunity to alter the records. Often, these records even include deleted messages, which can be critical to your case. Sorting through cell phone records for helpful evidence can be a daunting task, and you want an attorney who knows what to look for.

Your Records Could be Subpoenaed

Subpoenas work both ways, and you cannot get around an order for your records from your spouse’s attorney. This is why it is important to watch how you communicate on your cell phone and consider how it might be used against you in your divorce case.

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