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Online presence now routinely scrutinized in a divorce

Think back for a moment to all those western-themed movies of yore where trackers were centrally employed to locate fugitives, lost children and other individuals.

Those specialists were akin to diviners, looking at things like broken tree branches, fading footprints in the dirt, evidence that could be gleaned from burnt-out campfires and so forth.

Things are materially different these days in the modern world, of course, and certainly in the realm of family law, where information relevant to a divorce often exists yet must be uncovered.

Patently, much of what parties from both sides in a marital dissolution want to see is data that is publicly accessible in online accounts.

We occasionally make reference in some fashion to the growing importance of a soon-so-be spouse's so-called "online presence" in a divorce.

We believe it is important to do so, given the fact that legions of individuals these days -- Massachusetts residents not excepted -- reveal many dimensions of their lives in a most public way through their computers, smartphones and other mobile tech devices.

That is, they email incessantly, they send and receive texts all day long, they tweet, they have Facebook and myriad other social networking accounts, and they regularly post and access financial data via online platforms.

Collectively, that can equate to juicy pickings in some divorce cases for today's trackers.

Those individuals are still in a sense looking for footprints in the dirt, yet they now do so through employment of sophisticated forensic techniques that can readily recover data that a divorcing party flatly wishes would remain private.

Most of us do connect with the Internet and one or many "apps" that we find personally useful, and we leave a trove of data behind and sometimes accessible to third parties in the process.

Maybe that is not a concern for you in your divorce.

But, yet again, perhaps it is. In any matter, the issue is something that a proven divorce attorney will likely raise with you, given the material implications that electronic data can have in divorce-related matters ranging from child custody and support to spousal maintenance, property identification/division and additional considerations.

For many people, interaction with modern computer and Internet-based platforms is an almost addictive attraction. It is certainly smart for any consumer to be thoughtful regarding the imprint he or she leaves behind through regular use.

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