As technology practically takes over the world around us, it is no surprise to see that it is also entering the courtroom in some of the most unexpected ways. Family court and divorce courts are hearing more and more about a client’s social media presence. Text messages, GPS devices, cell phones, and email are all sometimes introduced into the court as evidence or testimony in an attempt to support or discredit one party or the other. Here is a closer look at the top two common culprits.
A person’s postings on various social media platforms are one of the most common issues brought forward by the court. People tend to think that their Facebook or Instagram account is only going to be seen by individuals on their friends list, or more specifically, only those who have been personally invited. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. First of all, if your security settings are not tight enough, you may have the door wide open for anyone to view your most personal photos and posts. Furthermore, even under the tightest of security, anyone who has permission to view your page can take a screen shot and capture your posts to share with anyone else. The rule of thumb here is that if you don’t want to share it with the world, you probably shouldn’t post it. Photos of your weekend part or rendezvous with a coworker may very well end up on the big screen in your divorce proceedings!
It’s so easy to really mess this one here. In the middle of an argument, you start sending text messages filled with threats or other spur of the moment language. You might be hoping to just get a “reaction” out of someone or trying to soothe a broken heart. Text messages feel safe. It’s not an email, or a voice mail, or even a spoken argument. Nonetheless, anything you send in a text message can easily be forwarded to anyone. Not only that, but a record of the message will be saved in the archive of both your phone and that of the other part. To add further validity to an argument, your phone company will have a record to support the time and even the location from where the message was sent. Again, a general rule to remember is that if you wouldn’t speak it in public, you may not want to send it in a text message.
Using caution in what you send via text message and post online through social media are good rules for everyone to follow, every day. If you are preparing to enter into a divorce (insert link) or custody battle, this reminder is even more prudent. It’s a good idea to seek legal representation very early on for your legal issue. Your use of technology may be brought forward in ways that you least expect it! Waiting until too long may result in a very embarrassing legal struggle.