The use of mobile phones has increased dramatically over the past few years. Whether we like it or not, for many of us our mobile phones are inextricably intertwined with our everyday lives. If anything, our reliance on them for work and/or social activities will continue to intensify over the coming years.
However, their relevance in family law proceedings may still not be fully recognised.
People often become suspicious of their partner’s fidelity as a result of a change in their mobile phone usage. Are they messaging more than usual…? Have they changed their password…? These incidences are, in my experience, becoming more and more common.
Electronic information stored on mobile phones cannot be overlooked in family proceedings. The data they store is vast and could, in certain circumstances, be relevant and important.
Communications regarding child arrangements are often by e-mail, text or WhatsApp. Have you considered keeping printed copies to show the court in the event the agreement reached breaks down? This is increasingly common, so it is advisable not to send messages you would not be happy for the court to have sight of!
More and more parents use mobile phone apps to set up shared family calendars. This not only makes it easier to quickly see when the children are staying with each parent, but also helps plan extra-curricular activities and homework.
Child Arrangement Orders are more commonly including provision for a child to have their own mobile phone, so that calls can be made between the children and their parents. It goes without saying that these devices should be kept charged and ready for use, but did you realise a screenshot of call details could prove calls took place if it is falsely claimed calls went unanswered?
Mobile phones can also be relevant in financial remedy proceedings. Every internet search leaves a record, which could confirm access to a non-disclosed bank account. GPS information is often retained indefinitely, which could be used as evidence of cohabitation.
Of course, it is illegal to access other people’s phones or other electronic devices without consent. Contact one of our team for advice tailored to your individual circumstances, to ensure that all necessary legal permissions are obtained, that any investigative work is cost-proportionate and that any information obtained is admissible.