In the last blog post, we discussed court room etiquette. The do’s and don’ts how to present yourself to the judge are very important, but how should you behave outside of the court room?
Technology has caused the dynamic of case law, in general, to shift drastically. The majority of the world interacts using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, other social media sites, professional networking websites and various other mobile device applications. The convenience is fun, useful, handy and nearly second nature to most of the world. When anything happens in your life, whether it be exciting, tragic, or triumphant, your first reaction is to pull your phone out and update your status on social media! This is definitely much more convenient that having to call and have a conversation with all 718 (or whatever you number) of contacts, right? Well, maybe not.
Unfortunately, we get so wrapped up in the wanting to “share” our news that we fail to remember that once ANYTHING is on the internet, it is no longer private. The days of worrying about your “best” friend sneaking and reading your diary then your secret crush your secret is long past. When a couple divorces, they often have mutual friends on social media. Not all of the friends are neutral and willing to stay out of your personal affairs. Social media breeds drama and divorce loves drama.
Social media can provide the opposing spouse with an abundance of information that can make or break your case. If you are pleading to the court to reduce the amount of attorney’s fees, court cost, child support or anything remotely associated with money because you are broke, do not post photos or status updates that would suggest differently. Imagine the opposing spouse has pictures of your weekend away in Vegas with your new girl/boyfriend cruising around in the Lamborghini you rented for your lavish weekend that were posted to your Facebook, you have probably just wrecked your case.
Emails and text messages are admissible evidence in court. Yes, any text, email, social media post, networking website, online dating profiles can sometimes be subpoenaed and gone through with a fine tooth comb. I constantly remind clients, do not put ANYTHING in email, text or anywhere online that they would not want the judge to read. In a divorce case, if either spouse has documentation that could suggest the other spouse is not being truthful it can create serious problems and damage to your case.
While laws about submitting emails, text, social media post and other digital documentation differ from state to state and can be convoluted, the first and best idea is to suspend any and all digital accounts until the divorce proceeding is over. The most important point to remember is to ask your family and friends not to tag or mention you in a social media post period. You need to take a vow of silence from the digital world until the final order has been signed by the judge.