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Family law may need to be updated for the digital age

In the past, when one spouse suspected the other of infidelity, he or she hired a private investigator to follow the other spouse. The investigator was tasked with obtaining confirmation of the spouse's suspicions and evidence for use in a divorce proceeding. However, times have changed. The online lives of Colorado residents are now being used as evidence of infidelity and other behavior in family law courts here and across the country.

Since the inception of the Internet and social media in its many forms, everyone is vulnerable to having his or her private and professional lives displayed to the world. Emails, texts and social media posts and photos can be used against a party and could even become a matter of public record during the divorce process. Unfortunately, an unintended consequence of using such information is that unrelated personal information such as bank account details may be revealed as well.

Engaged or married couples are beginning to add a digital protection clause in their prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements. Not only celebrities and politicians have to worry about their reputations, but anyone who has a business to protect may wish to consider such a clause. Work issues discussed at home that are of a sensitive nature may be leaked during a divorce if they are not otherwise protected.

Long gone are the days of digging in the trash for receipts to find information, because we now live in an information universe. As family law in Colorado continues to evolve to meet this new challenge, many couples are doing what they can to protect themselves. Using a prenuptial agreement to protect against sensitive digital information being inadvertently revealed during a divorce proceeding is one way to do so.

Source:, "Does Your Marriage Need a Digital Privacy Clause?", Keli Goff, April 17, 2014

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