Can a divorce attorney subpoena Snapchat / Facebook messages?

Can a divorce attorney subpoena snapchat/facebook messages?

Yes, we can subpoena information from Facebook and other applications where the information is stored.  Or, we can compel releases in order to obtain this information. 

In divorce law, as well as criminal law, content on Facebook and other social media sites can be used as evidence since these sites document users’ messages, photos, and even their locations. It’s estimated that about 1 in 3 of all divorces cite at least one social media source.

Any divorce attorney will tell you that it’s a good idea to be as vigilant on social media as you are face to face in terms of what you share and whom you befriend. Social media posts could lend to evidence that one party has had an affair, that he or she is an unfit parent, or that the party in question has made derogatory or abusive statements about a spouse or their own children.

Instead of subpoenaing content, a divorce attorney may simply ask the other spouse to provide their Facebook history. Complying with this request may satisfy the counsel’s demands, but it is also a binding agreement to continue providing discovery until the trial is held. In other words, a party can’t comply in the beginning and then choose not to provide social media content that is requested later.

If a spouse involved in a divorce refuses to willingly provide his or her social media history, a divorce attorney can subpoena this information. The attorney can also compel releases in order to get this information. Compelling releases means that the court, not the attorney, asks the party in question to provide the requested information.

Sometimes, guilty parties will delete their social media accounts in fear of being caught doing something that will negatively affect them during a divorce. However, deleting a Facebook or Snapchat account during divorce could be found guilty of destroying evidence. Deleting an account should only be done on the advice of your personal divorce attorney.