Technology can be wonderful. New inventions often make our lives easier or more entertaining (or both). Technology, however, can have negative attributes as well. As members of our current society, we must educate ourselves equally on the benefits and pitfalls of the newest devices and trends.
Nowhere is this clearer than in the context of family law, especially with regard to divorce and custody proceedings. In today’s technology-laden world, there have been a number of inventions (e.g., email, text messaging, EZPass, Facebook) that have unintentionally come to the aid of the average person going thru a divorce (as well as his or her often reluctant attorney). There have also been a number of inventions that have served to “put the nail in the coffin.” Indeed, depending upon whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant in a divorce action, technology may be a blessing or a curse.
One piece of technology that has very recently caused a lot of buzz in the divorce world is the “Find My Friends” application on the new iPhone 4S. “Find My Friends” was intended to allow its user to track the location of those friends who have agreed to allow the user access to this information. However, according to recent Internet chatter, “Find My Friends” also allowed a husband who suspected his wife of cheating on him to surreptitiously “verify” that she was engaging in an inappropriate relationship, or at least lying to him about where she was going from time to time. He gave her a new cell phone with the application already loaded on it (and enabled). When the wife left the house, the husband was able to track her location, unbeknownst to his spouse. Now, he has screen shots which, apparently, he will attempt to use in Court to corroborate her visits with an alleged paramour. The husband was so pleased with his “success” with the application that he posted what happened on a blog and thanked iPhone and “Find My Friends.”
While I suspect there might be issues with the admissibility of the husband's "evidence" (and maybe even potential criminal implications for his own behavior), I think at least one message is clear: educated use of technology is a must. After all, one may not want others, including a divorce court or, better yet, the entire world, to find his or her friends.