Livesay & Myers, P.C. Articles The Dangers of Facebook, Emails and Texts in Your Divorce

The Dangers of Facebook, Emails and Texts in Your Divorce

By James Livesay  Sep. 3, 2013 6:09a

Technology is a wonderful tool to make our lives easier and help us connect with friends across the world, through social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Technology has allowed instant communication through texting, instant messaging and e-mail. While these technological advances may make our social lives more enjoyable, they can lead to hidden perils during a divorce or custody case.


Posting on Facebook or another social networking site may seem like harmless fun, but during a divorce or custody case these postings can easily move from the computer to the courtroom. Your time in front of a Judge is limited, and the last thing you want to do is waste time defending the angry wall post you wrote at 2 a.m. or those pictures of you blowing off steam at a friend’s party, during your divorce or custody hearing.

To avoid an uncomfortable experience in court, always ask yourself before you post, "how would a Judge view this?" Become familiar with your privacy settings on sites such as Facebook. Remember that all it takes is one “friend” to print out photos that would portray you in a negative light at court, and you may have created an unnecessary problem for yourself. Check your friends carefully, and if in doubt shut your page down for the duration of your lawsuit. Additionally, always inform your attorney what sites you belong to. This will allow your attorney to confirm that your testimony in court will mesh with the information that you have provided on the web.

Emails, Texts and Instant Messages

There are a lot of benefits to using emails, texts or instant messages to communicate with your estranged spouse during a divorce. In cases where parties do not feel comfortable speaking face to face, emails or text messages may allow both parties to relay information about the children, bills, or other necessities.

The downside to using emails, texts and instant messages is the written record that they produce, which could potentially be used against you in court. Once again, you don’t want to waste your precious time in front of the Judge explaining a furious text message or e-mail that you sent your spouse. Thankfully, this situation is easily avoidable. Whenever you send a text, email, or IM to your spouse, just imagine the judge sitting behind you and reading every word you type. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or angry, walk away from your computer or put down your phone. Drafting emails in a word processing program, then saving them to upload and send later, may provide a nice "cooling off" period allowing you to remove content that may hurt your case down the line.

By following these simple tips above, you can save yourself time, money, and embarrassment in the courtroom, and help your attorney present your strongest divorce or custody case possible.

This is a post by attorney James Livesay, partner and lead family law attorney at Livesay & Myers, P.C. Mr. Livesay leads a team of divorce attorneys in Fairfax, Virginia who represent clients in separation and divorce cases across Northern Virginia.

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