Thank you, M.
Let us first discuss who evidence is received from other parties in litigation, and then we can go from there.
Let us say that Adam sues Betty for divorce. Cindy has evidence that Adam needs which is a cellphone. If this is the case, Adam can file what is known as a subpoena
to command Cindy to produce the evidence as pertinent to the case, or risk punishment from the Court. The physical cellphone is produced by Cindy. Adam then take the phone to a specialist to recover whatever data is needed.
Adam may also subpoena the carrier of the line for the cellphone to get information about text messages (if available) and other record data (called metadata) from the carrier, also by subpoena
Adam may use discovery
to request any evidence from Betty (his soon to be ex). This works like a subpoena, but is different in nuance. Again, once he gets whatever evidence from Betty via discovery, that may also be used in Court.
Both the power of discovery and subpoena only become available when litigation is filed
, not before.
Now, speaking about the iPhone - it can often be done, but it really depends on what was deleted, and who is the carrier (T-Mobile, ATT, etc?).
A good tech specialist may be able to recover deleted information on the hardware once the phone is subpoenaed, but, whether or not the carrier has additional metadata information depends on the carrier's retention policies
for data of customers.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.
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