Family Law in the Digital Age

Text messaging. Electronic billing. Social networking. Smart phones. Not only are such innovations becoming part of the daily lives of most Americans, they are also reshaping and reforming the practice of domestic relations law. As the technology continues to develop around us, family law practitioners must continue thinking and learning about how such developments impact our various cases.

For example, it has become common practice for family law attorneys to request discovery documents and information regarding the opposing party’s social networking, online billing and email history. In many cases, such requests are coupled with the hiring of a private investigator specially trained in computer forensics. These efforts generally produce content-rich discovery and evidence which can have a great impact in a domestic relations case.

Obtaining this electronic information is really only half the battle, and frankly, the easier half. Submitting such information into evidence at Court requires a deft understanding of a rapidly-changing and relatively unsettled area of law. Thus, the family law attorney must stay apprised of the evolving state of the law on electronic and digital discovery and the client would be well-served by hiring such an attorney.

Why did Al and Tipper wait?

As a divorce lawyer, I could give you a thousand possible reasons. But what intrigues me is how much America is interested. While it may seem strange for a couple near or past retirement age to separate, in actuality it is very common. The pressures that often keep a couple together (young children, insufficient assets to support separate households, concern that the non working spouse will have to now work) are less present in older couples. There are thousands of people who consider or desire a divorce, but cannot and will not do it for fear of raising children in two separate homes or for fear of being left in a financially desperate condition. Once these people reach retirement age, retirement accounts may be accessible penalty free, the kids may live in other cities and all the reasons not to divorce may be gone. But the reason they considered and contemplated divorce often remains. Different views on life, different dreams and even different lifestyles may not only remain, but become more visible and relevant. Divorcing at age 50, 60, 70 or 80 is becoming more common and who are we to judge?