FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS EVIDENCE

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Beware of the photos and information one places on Facebook and other social media sites.  It can come back to haunt you when it comes time to deal with divorce, custody, or other family law matters.

According to recently released statistics, more and more family law attorneys are venturing to social media sites to gather evidence for divorce, custody, and other family law matters.  That’s because sixty-five (65) percent of adults – and eighty-nine (89) percent of those adults under thirty (30) years of age – use social media sites.

For many attorneys in the family law business, the Internet has become the go-to place to assemble incriminating evidence.  Social media posts tend to provide the who, what, when, where, and why of a persons personal background.  There are over 845 million Facebook users who post an average of 70 pieces of content per month.  This includes photographs, videos, contact information, network of friends, conversations, locations, interests, and daily routines.

Some family law attorneys have utilized this plethora of personal information to reveal an opposing party’s state of mind, evidence of time and place or actions, and to validate and corroborate communications.  Decisions handed down by courts across the country have affected how evidence from social media sites can be admissible in court.  Decisions have held, among other things, that there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy on Facebook, that divorcing parties can be ordered to hand over social networking site passwords, user names and logins, and that divorcing parties may be granted full access, including private and deleted data, to Facebook and MySpace.

So divorcing parties or couples caught in custody disputes might want to think twice next time before posting those belly dancing videos or heavy partying photos on their social media sites.

KEEP YOUR DIVORCE OUT OF THE MEDIA (LIKE JENNIFER AND MARK DID)

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So you know the family is falling apart, and the only reasonable solution to peace of minds is a divorce.  But you know you want to keep things quiet, keep the family insulated from scrutiny or criticism from friends or family members.  And if you’re Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony, you also want to keep the details away from the media.

Although news reports have been rather thin, it appears after seven years the glam couple is divorcing.  Yet, where is the media when you need all the gory details in fine print?  Sure, they’ve begun the spin and rumors have begun to spread.  But where’s all the juicy details?  They’re simply not out there.  And for that, credit has to be extended to the couple for attempting to handle the matter outside the eyes of the public by reaching an out-of-court settlement before making their divorce public.

Celebrities have finally come to understand how damaging an ugly divorce can be to their images and their reputations.  That’s why they are encouraged to handle their cases quickly, and to settle their personal issues outside of court, rather than in it.  By doing so, these cases can often cost much less than the legal fees in normal family law cases.

In California, divorces are open to the public.  Family law courts cannot seal records but for rare situations.  Detailed financial information, personal matters and allegations are made public for all to see when the court system is used to resolve matrimonial differences.  So if you want to keep your private life out of the minds of ordinary citizens, and keep the expenditure of dollars and cents to a minimum, it is suggested to seek a strong divorce attorney first, one that can help conclude your case privately before it begins.