Tonight’s blog post was written by The Manely Firm, PC’s Attorney extraordinaire, Cherese Clark.
In a world saturated in technology, many people prefer to share their thoughts through emails, text messages, and social media rather than “old fashioned” direct communication. While these new technological avenues may be intimidating, having this type of documentary evidence could be invaluable to strengthening your position in a family law case. Using the other party’s own words or social media postings against them is compelling and beneficial to your attorney preparing your case for court.
So, how do you start? To save text messages (SMS/ MMS) and call logs, iTunes and Google Play stores offer various applications that work effortlessly. If you have a Gmail account, SMS Backup + is a free application that can automatically back up all texts, picture messages, and call logs by creating a “TEXT” tabbed folder within your Gmail inbox. This makes for easy documentation and retrieval if necessary by saving each message individually.
Additionally, many smartphones are now equipped with screenshot capabilities (taking a picture of your cell phone screen). Saving screenshots of messages or social media information as you are viewing it can also be instrumental in proving points you want conveyed to a judge or jury.
I thoroughly appreciate frequently having additional evidence to corroborate a client’s position so that I can strengthen my client’s credibility with the trier of fact. Georgia has 159 counties that function as their own entity with special nuances. However, universally, documentary evidence such as text messages, emails, and screenshots strengthen arguments and impact the credibility of both parties involved in the litigation.
The only issue remaining, then, is whether you have actual or at least tacit authority to capture the text or the image. If you have been provided with the password at some point in time or if your significant other leaves the computer open and up or the cell phone on, the he/she has arguably given you actual or at least tacit authority to observe and record this evidence.
As with all issues, it is absolutely essential to provide your counsel with your specific set of facts about how you obtained the evidence but always remember to help your attorney help you prove your case.