So you may have found yourself in the middle of a dispute that can range from anything to a civil contract dispute to a child custody suit. And you may have heard rumblings that people use Facebook or other social media as evidence in their cases. And those rumblings have been correct. Where social media has reared its head the most would have to be in family law, being divorces, child custody disputes, termination of parental right disputes and other like matters. So what does that mean for you and all of your Facebook or MySpace friends?
Facebook, Twitter, etc., has become an avenue to rant, vent, and relieve stresses, and this may include throwing a few insults at the expense of your significant other, baby momma or daddy, or whomever you are about to share a legal battle against. Trust me, these will be used in court if you find yourself there one day. Or we may see persons check-in with paramours, upload pictures with these same people, all the while the innocent spouse is wondering where their loved one is. These check-ins and pictures are wonderful evidence for Court. Another common offender? The Facebook partier, the person that has uploaded about 3,000 pictures, of which 2,999 have beer or alcohol or worse (gasp!) drug-related paraphernalia appearing in these pictures. Free legal advice for ya – don’t post illegal things on social media. This is an opposing attorney’s best friend against you in a child custody case. Yet, people do this all the time.
So you have fouled on Facebook, now what? Clean it up. I always advise clients when they come into my office to disable Facebook, change passwords on emails, and just remain inactive for a couple months until a final hearing has been conducted. And in the meantime, pull the garbage the opposing party has placed on their social media for your attorney to review. Some people may not want to disable Facebook. (“I cannot possibly stop playing CastleVille!! Are you KIDDING ME?”) In that case, up your privacy, minimize your audience, and before posting, remember this mantra, “If grandma saw it, would she be disappointed?” If so, don’t post it. It is just not worth it. And I will leave you on a scary note, once you post it, it is there forever! Gasp! So if you have nothing nice to post on Twitter or Facebook, don’t type it at all!
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