Social and Electronic Media and Your Family Law Case: If You Post It, It Will (Probably) Come (Back to Haunt You)
In case it’s not abundantly clear to everyone at this point, tweets, text messages, and posts on Facebook and other social media sites can be rich sources of evidence in family law litigation–and those messages and images are admissible in Court.
Obviously, posting, “It’ll be a cold day in h*ll before I let my ex see the kids” in the middle of a child custody case is ill-advised. Likewise, “Boy, am I hung over—not sure how I made it home last night.” And those intimate little cell-phone photos to that special person who would never show anyone else? Don’t. Just don’t. But consider some less obvious examples: How many bars, alcohol logos, and pictures of you holding a beer, a mixed drink (or worse, someone you shouldn’t be holding) are on you Facebook page at this moment? And as for those pictures and comments about the great party you just attended, what are the posting times? As one local attorney put it, “Nothing good happens after midnight.”
Even restricting your postings to be viewed only by friends doesn’t insure that they won’t end up as a court exhibit, since your friends have other friends, who have other friends. . .
Then there are those emails and texts shot out in bursts of rage and haste, such as one of my personal favorites, “I’ll do anything I have to do to get the kids, including lying to the Judge. . .” Along with being regrettable, they are discoverable, recoverable (remember, DELETE, doesn’t really delete), admissible in court, and, of course, highly damaging in family law litigation.
If you aren’t convinced by now, then at least before you hit that SEND, POST, or SHARE button, take a breath and count to ten, then to twenty, then to a few thousand. Then put a dollar sign in front of that number and write a check to your attorney, because that’s likely to be what you’ll end up paying to defend your harsh words and questionable photos in your next family law case.