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Can he legally obtain my cell phone records and bills?

October 11, 2017 Our Blog

During the divorce process, your spouse may want to obtain your cell phone records and bills. The most likely reason for this is when your spouse is alleging that you committed adultery and are at fault for the divorce. Regardless of the veracity of these allegations, it’s natural to not want other people combing through your private messages and conversations.

It’s likely that your spouse will be able to obtain those cell phone records. Here’s what you need to know about how this works and how this could affect your divorce.

Privacy Policies with Cell Phone Carriers

Under normal circumstances, your cell phone carrier’s privacy policy protects you from having other parties obtaining your cell phone records, and this includes spouses. A carrier would require a court order before releasing your cell phone records.

It’s important to keep in mind that this won’t matter if you have a cell phone plan with your spouse. If both of you are authorized users on the account, then he could access the account at any time to get those records. Even if you got your own cell phone plan, he would still be able to access any previous records on your joint account, and you wouldn’t be able to get him removed.

Another way that your spouse could get your cell phone records, without needing to be a user on the account, is by getting them off your phone or logging in to your online account using your credentials. This is why it’s important to set up passwords that only you know to protect both your phone and your account in this situation.

How a Spouse Can Obtain Your Cell Phone Records

If your spouse wants to obtain your cell phone records, he will likely have his divorce lawyer request those records during the discovery phase of the litigation process. Although you may not need to comply with this request at that time, your lawyer could advise it anyway, knowing that the court will just end up requiring it later.

If you elect not to provide your cell phone records, then your spouse’s lawyer can petition the court and get a subpoena for those records. At that point, you will either need to provide the records or your spouse’s lawyer can get the records through your cell phone carrier.

You should talk to your divorce lawyer to see what your options are and what is likely to happen, but in most cases, your spouse can obtain your cell phone records. It’s only a matter of whether you cooperate.

How Cell Phone Records Can Affect Your Divorce

The effect your cell phone records will have on your divorce depend on what they contain and the type of divorce that has been filed. There are fault and no-fault divorces, although this varies by state. Every state has no-fault divorces available, which is when neither party alleges the other was at fault for the divorce. Some states, New York included, have fault divorces, which is when one party alleges the other caused the divorce.

If your spouse is alleging that you committed adultery, making the divorce your fault, he could use information in your phone records as evidence of that. He and his lawyer may use any evidence they find as leverage to get a more favorable settlement agreement. If you two are unable to agree on a settlement agreement, your spouse can present the evidence to the court in hopes of a better agreement for himself.

If it’s a no-fault divorce, it won’t matter what’s contained in your phone records, but it’s unlikely your spouse would be trying to obtain your phone records anyway in this situation.

A skilled divorce lawyer can help you navigate this kind of situation, advising you on what to do and how the information contained in your phone records could affect your divorce.



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