The Google Apps programs would be useful I think for someone going through a family law case. Google has a free version of the programs (see link above) which includes gmail, google docs, calendar and a bunch of other “apps”, including a free telephone number — if you have any concerns about being able to keep you home or cell phone number and continuing to have a number where people can reach you. I think a lot of people are already using gmail. It’s a good way to have email not tied to an internet service provider, and your email is online so it’s there if you have to move, can’t take your computer with you, etc.
The “docs” program lets you type and save documents in your docs folders online. You can’t do a lot of complicated formatting with the program, but it’s good and more than enough to type and save documents. Some uses might be making notes about your case that you want to save, and many times it is very helpful to keep some sort of a diary or log about important events that relate to your divorce or other family law case.
An issue with all of this, whether your email and documents/diary are on-line or in your computer or papers you have at home, is security and privacy. Hopefully things get resolved amicably, but while you’re preparing for or going through a family law case, the other party is not necessarily your friend. There are many cases where one spouse, for example, finds things on the family computer or in papers at home, that are later used in the court case. I want to talk with friends in the IT/Computer business, especially considering all the major companies that have had private information “hacked” recently, and haven’t done that yet, but my guess is that if there is a concern about someone accessing information in your papers or computer at home, it’s probably safer and more secure to have the information online, in the “cloud”.
I’ll try to address in a future post, the U.S. federal and Florida state statutes which make it a crime to intercept communications like email or access stored email or voice-mail without authority, or access a computer without authority, and the limits under Florida law on using illegally obtained evidence in a family law trial. It’s a little bit of a detailed area of law, in part because of all the variations in different types of “spying” software and types of electronic communication, and it’s a situation where everything may not be protected.