Email, text messaging and social media add a new dimension of danger when an ill considered message or posting (usually fired off in a moment of anger) ends up on the record as evidence against a party in a contested divorce, child support or custody case.
The American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers has research showing that 81 percent of all divorce cases “used some form of evidence from a social media site…The AAML report shows that 27 percent of the divorces “involve spouses saying hurtful and damaging things about each other on their personal social pages.” More and more family law lawyers can now cite examples where a sharp email message came back to impale its author or a “racy photo made a client look like an unfit parent.”
The postings are self-inflicted injuries and they are 100 percent preventable. According to Myra Chack Fleischer of Fleischer and Associates, clients should always assume “the judge in your case will read everything you write, post, text, or tweet, and will read it in the harshest possible way,” so “don’t express your anger in writing.”
In a contested divorce, child support or custody case, where emotions run high and anger percolates just below the surface, a party may be very tempted to fire off an angry posting, but he or she should consider that a message send into cyberspace has all the security of a postcard and all the privacy of a billboard.