As a divorce lawyer, I am continually amazed by what people will put in print. Literally have boxes of documents full of copies of texts, e-mails, and Facebook posts from clients. I tell clients to stop posting anything about their separation on social media. Lawyers, clients, all kinds of people in this industry ‘creep’ on the internet to try to get insight into what is really going on. Why does if often create problems? In part, because people text it or post it so quickly without considering how far-reaching its impact may be. Here are some points to consider. When you posted that sarcastic comment about your ex on Facebook, did you think it would be sitting in front of a judge who is deciding your custody case? Did you consider whether a friend of a friend would see it and forward it to your ex’s lawyer?
Even if you ‘block’ your ex, did you consider how your message may have gotten to them via one of your hundred’s of followers? When you sent that text in anger telling her exactly what you thought of her, what it says about how you treat people? Is the person who reads it going to now wonder how you talk to your children about their mother or father? I have seen every one of those hypothetical happen. Before you send off that text or post a message on Facebook here are a few things for you to think about.
- Does this show I have a lack of respect for the other parent, or for people in general?
- Would a judge wonder whether I could be making the same type of comments to the children?
- Is it simply rude or mean-spirited? (That is always going to reflect badly on you)
- There any possibility that sometimes it would be read by my children or their friends? If yes, what would the impact be on them, when they read it?
- Is it showing me drinking and partying when custody and access is an issue? Is it at a time when the children were in my care?
- Is it a picture of me on my new boat or on the beach in Aruba when support issues are in question?
I always remember the response of an experienced judge, speaking about this type of evidence. The judge was asked, “Do you really consider the Facebook posts that are submitted?” His response was, that he assumes that when you are sitting in your pajamas with your coffee posting on social media, you are probably saying exactly what you think. So yes, he considers it.
I hope it becomes clear to you that social media can cause you a lot of grief. You may be making the other person’s case for them, literally.