Mens Divorce Attorney, Cordell and Cordell
To track or not to track? That is the question.
Such evidence gleaned from e-mails, cell phones, Facebook, and Twitter have proved both compelling and devastating in divorce cases.
Most recently, additional forms of evidence have come to the forefront, including information on a partner’s whereabouts obtained from global positioning system (“GPS”) tracking devices, including Apple’s new iPhone 4S “Find My Friends” app.
While it is certainly no secret that electronic and other technologically advanced media such as GPS tracking devices are becoming an increasingly popular tool in ascertaining a suspected criminal’s whereabouts, the question remains as to its admissibility in family law proceedings.
Unfortunately, most courts remain silent on this issue, as the majority of GPS-related cases have apparently settled before the courts have had the chance of making evidentiary determinations in those matters.
Moreover, with the advent of new and increasingly advanced technology comes the need for the law to catch up and evolve, which often takes a considerable amount of judicial time and effort.
Notwithstanding, a recent New Jersey appellate court case sheds some light as to how courts moving forward may consider GPS tracking device related evidence in family law proceedings.
The case in question, Villanova v. Innovative Investigations, Inc., No. A-0654-10T2 (N.J. Super. 2011), involves a wife who placed a GPS tracking device in her husband’s car given suspicions that he was cheating. When his wife confronted him with the evidence, the husband in turn sued the agency and its principle that the wife hired to assist her in investigating his alleged infidelities.
Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that Defendants violated his right to privacy due to their suggestion that Plaintiff’s wife, unbeknownst to Plaintiff, purchased and install a GPS tracking device in the glove compartment of one of the family vehicles normally driven by Plaintiff. The court however, found Plaintiff’s arguments unpersuasive.
In its ruling, the court held that “the placement of a GPS device in Plaintiff’s vehicle, without his knowledge, but in the absence of evidence that he drove the vehicle into a private or secluded location that was out of public view and in which he had a legitimate expectation of privacy, does not constitute a tort invasion of privacy.”
In so holding, the court affirmed the lower court’s decision in finding in favor of Defendants.
Read Related Article:
While the Villanova case affords both lawmakers and legal practitioners alike a glimpse at how GPS evidence may be considered in a judicial setting, jurisdictions across the country may vary given the governing state constitutional, statutory and regulatory authority as well as the underlying facts of each case.
For instance, an additional New Jersey case suggests that the use of GPS tracking devices may open one up to criminal violations such as stalking, especially in cases involving orders of protection. See L.A.V.H. v. R.J.V.H., No. A-6292-09T4 (N.J. Super. 2011).
Regardless of the circumstances, it is important to consider that depending upon the jurisdiction you may face certain legal ramifications in the event that you choose to use GPS tracking devices on an alleged cheating partner without first speaking to a mens divorce attorney.
This is a risk that is certainly not worth taking, especially in light of the infancy of GPS evidence being considered in family law cases across the country.
Contact the divorce lawyers for men at Cordell & Cordell for more information on admissible GPS evidence in your jurisdiction.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Jennifer de Lyon Stralka, an associate attorney in the St. Louis office, contact Cordell & Cordell Law Firm.