Monday, July 5, 2010

New York Divorce and Family Law: Watch What You Post

Social networks are causing problems in divorce cases, leading to an abundance of evidence in matrimonial matters. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says 81 percent of its members have used or faced evidence from Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and other social networking sites, including Linkedin and Youtube, over the last five years.

I myself had a case recently where the mother was not paying child support claiming that she is on public assistance, but my client, the father, brought in dozens of pictures of her in her expensive home, on expensive trips, and the best pictures of her were the one of her in front of her new business, announcing its grand opening.

In a recent article I read on, it stated that 66 percent of the lawyers surveyed cited facebook indiscretions as the source of online evidence, and Myspace followed by 15% , followed by twitter at 5%. Social networks are now providing evidence that you normally would never get in the every day divorce process. Judges don’t really have a problem letting Facebook pages in, believing that you can’t really fake a Facebook page.

The evidence obtained from social networking sites becomes most damaging when the party uses their face book page to wage a smear campaign against their significant other or forces their child to de-friend the other parent, in effect providing evidence of alienation which is a very serious offense in Family Court which could lead to a loss of custody and/or visitation with your child.

So, the Moral of this Post is the following: What you say can and will be held against you in the Court of Law!!

I advise my clients at the outset to show me their Facebook pages and any other social networking sites they may be on and I tell them to stop posting and being active on those sites while they are going through their divorce or Family Court process. This might be the ultimate challenge for some, but going through a divorce or Family Court proceeding may be the most emotional time of an individuals life and it is extremely easy to lose yourself and give in to your anger and emotions, then as a result write something on one of the social networking sites trash talking your ex. The words you write out of anger on any of these sites may have a lasting impact on your life or the life of your children and other family members.

Also, think twice before posting pictures!! Like the case I described above, the mother did not have to say a word, the pictures spoke for themselves providing us with a clear portrait of the mother’s lavish lifestyle and successful business.

If you must be active on your social networking sites during your divorce or Family Court matter then you should check your privacy settings, de-friend your ex, any of your ex’s friends, or other people who might be frenemies. Also, have anyone who might post any information about you or pictures of you adjust their privacy settings as well.

With regard to social networking sites remember – YOU CANNOT BE TOO CAREFUL!!

Until Next Time,

Helen M. Dukhan, Esq., LL.M. @

1 comment:

  1. I found that site very usefull and this survey is very cirious, I ' ve never seen a blog that demand a survey for this actions, very curious... Father’s rights Nevada