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blog home Divorce Electronic Discovery Upsets Status Quo: Why Marital Mischief is Getting Harder to Hide

Electronic Discovery Upsets Status Quo: Why Marital Mischief is Getting Harder to Hide

By Nottage and Ward on May 21, 2012

Technological advancements have made, and continue to make, many changes in our society on both personal and professional levels. One aspect of society that is being made more difficult by such advancements is secrecy. It is becoming harder and harder for people to keep secrets and none feel this more than dishonest spouses. It used to be much easier for spouses to hide assets and relationships back when your husband or wife could not track your phone and Internet activity; now, electronic discovery is changing the balance of the scales.

Understanding how electronic discovery is changing the family law system is an important factor in the success of a divorce in Illinois and across the nation. In this three-part blog series, the experienced Chicago divorce attorneys at Nottage and Ward will make some key points about how electronic discovery has changed the divorce process.

First, the basic question: Why is marital mischief harder to hide? The simple answer is because technological advancements have made the mischief easier to find. Internet browsing history, email, investigative software, smartphones, and social media platforms such as Facebook and even LinkedIn can lead to secret bank accounts, other hidden assets, and even infidelity; and, in many cases, deleting does not help. If it is electronically created, it can be electronically traced, and now that it can be, we can see how common such marital mischief actually is. According to an article in Yahoo! Finance,

  • 31 percent of adults who hold combined assets with a partner or spouse say they have been deceptive about money;
  • 48 percent of young professional couples have hid purchases from their spouse or partner;
  • 58 percent of adults have hid cash from their spouse;
  • 34 percent of adults did not disclose debt to their spouse or partner; and
  • 15 percent of adults have hid a bank account from their spouse or partner.

These deceptive tactics are not new, but thanks to electronic discovery, they are now being uncovered more easily. Knowing what you can and can’t do (legally) when trying to “catch” your spouse or partner is important, however.

Check back for our next blog post in the series where we discuss how electronic discovery should and should not be used in your search for answers.

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