E-mail. Voicemail. Texts. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. We all have them and we all use them. Some people may use them more than others, but when you are going through a divorce, there are some important things to remember about electronic communication and social media.
- Limit your electronic footprint: You may be someone who loves to post everything that pops into your mind but maintaining a constant presence on the internet can work against you in a divorce. Laying off of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter could be a very good move.
- Don’t write, say, or post anything that you don’t want a judge to see. It’s best to assume that anything you write could be viewed by a judge. Use appropriate language. Don’t write anything while your emotions are out of control. Consult with your attorney before posting or writing if you have a question. Or better yet, don’t post it at all.
- Assume that opposing counsel will use your electronic communication or social media postings as evidence. 92% of attorneys have cited an increase in using evidence from smartphones in the past six years.
- Your privacy settings will not prevent your posts from being used in court. Everything you do is under scrutiny. You have to live your electronic life as if the world is watching.
- Electronic communication and social media can be used to show how you are feeling, your location at a certain time, collaboration with another party, or to prove or contradict statements made under oath. If you testify that you haven’t set foot in a bar in a year, that picture of you hoisting a green beer on St. Paddy’s Day will destroy your credibility. Electronic communications and social media posts can be used in any aspect of your family law case.
- The overall takeaway: Think before you post.
For many, an immediate reaction to learning that electronic communications or social media could be used in a negative way is to immediately delete emails or social media postings. Despite this reaction, it is important that you not destroy any evidence during your family law proceeding. Both you and your attorney have a duty to preserve evidence and deleting a Facebook account, for example, can cause even greater issues.
Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal’s family law attorneys can provide you with information about electronic communication and social media during your family law case.