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     Clients going through divorce often worry that their spouse may be hiding assets. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal talks about why this has become much harder to accomplish successfully. As the article points out, ” Thanks to technology, hidden marital assets may be just a few clicks away”. Facebook is the top source of compromising evidence. Smart phones provide a great deal of information. Technology makes it possible to examine spouses’ email and text messages, their web searching histories, their facebook pages, their photos, their twitter accounts, their online financial accounts. The technology posses challenges for both the hider and the finder of information. The law about what type of search is legal is still evolving. For example, it is legal to do a public Google search on a spouse, but it can be illegal to use a false name to search someone’s private facebook account. Other issues relate to installing a GPS on someone’s car or installing keystroke monitoring on their computer. Issues arise about whether the information was publicly on a family computer or in a family vehicle or a phone on a family plan or whether it was in an individual account password protected. There are state specific laws about how a person is permitted to obtain information and documentation and whether or not information can be use as evidence depending on how it was obtained. As family law attorneys, we often are called upon to advise clients as to what they are and are not permitted to do or permitted to use as evidence under Federal and Virginia law.

This article was written by Phoebe P. Hall.
Managing Partner/Attorney, Hall & Hall, PLC, 1401 Huguenot Road, Suite 100, Midlothian, VA 23113, and 4323 Cox Road, Suite 100, Glen Allen, VA 23060, Tel: (804) 897-1515, Fax (804) 897-2499

The information you obtain at this site relates to Virginia law only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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