Social media is a popular way to share information and keep in touch with friends and family. But it is increasingly being used in family law cases to help attorneys and judges collect evidence.
Just as social media is now being used in hiring decisions, it’s also being used in divorce and custody cases. The information gleaned from sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are now being submitted as evidence in family law cases.
While it is not unusual for character witnesses to be called in family law cases, social sites can sometimes be used in a similar manner. Negative comments, images, offensive posts, and hostile interactions can all be submitted as evidence in divorce or custody cases. Partners can much more easily keep tabs on one another – and collect evidence against one another – by using social media.
How Social Media Is Being Used In Family Law Cases
Social media has been used as evidence in many different ways. Even seemingly innocuous posts such as those involving a check-in, photos of a new partner or spouse, or those of a parent having a glass of wine or beer can be used to demonstrate that a parent is unfit for custody. Even posts by the children involved in such cases can be used as evidence.
Any of these social posts or interactions can have an impact on custody, child support, and alimony. One spouse could argue that the other doesn’t need alimony if he/she is posting pictures of frequent vacations. Another could argue that a work-sponsored golf outing demonstrates that the spouse’s job takes precedence over the kids, or that pictures from a one-time happy hour indicate a substance abuse problem.
While most people realize they shouldn’t put in writing anything they don’t want a judge to read, they seem to have a lapse in judgment when it comes to social media. Anything on social media is considered “in writing” and should be treated as such. Comments, tags, replies, images, postings, shares, and links all provide direct insight into a person and his or her interests, beliefs, and attitudes.
Protecting Clients From Themselves
Attorneys have the job of advising their clients on what actions to start, stop, or continue in order to present the most favorable impression possible in a family law case. Increasingly, limiting their presence on social media is one of those recommendations. Attorneys may find themselves recommending their clients either do not use or severely limit their presence on the sites, or set strict privacy controls during divorce proceedings.
Collect And Preserve Social Media Evidence With Easysoft’s EasyFamilyLaw Suite
Social media is here to stay and will have an impact on family law cases for the foreseeable future. It’s important for clients to understand that whatever they post online never really goes away and can be used against them in a court of law. On the flip side, you and your clients could use their ex’s social sites to collect evidence to boost your own case.
Easysoft’s EasyFamilyLaw Suite of software can help you manage the data and evidence you collect. Divorce Financials can help you examine several different child support and alimony scenarios if you discover that your client’s ex has been untruthful about their financial situation.
Case Information Statement has several forms to help support negotiations and features that allow you to add details, such as those that might be found on social media sites, to your case data.