Lawyers must modify and change the way they prepare for highly conflictual cases in these changing times.
To do so, they need to understand and know the right questions to ask about social media.
The purposes and consequences of searches of social media produce rich information which can be used by and against litigants on trial or in settlement negotiations.
This article will review the where and what can be procured, how we as advocates can delve for treasure on the social media websites and in digital communications, as well as protect our clients from the pitfalls to which they may expose themselves in being modern in our new world. Texts, emails, phone numbers, call histories, GPS and Internet search histories, and social media sites, like Facebook, Myspace and the dating services.
Second: early in your case, ask that the opponent keep all Social Media sites intact during the case, and preserve all texts and emails, so that there is no loss of evidence.
Text messaging is the most common form of divorce evidence.
More than 90 percent of America’s top divorce attorneys said they have seen a spike in the number of cases using evidence from text communications in the past three years, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).
Texts are the source of great embarrassment if one spouse keeps texts sent during times of anger or frustration, or when socially involved and not being mindful of their words.
Likewise, texts sent to children or to friends and family members can show a mental state or disposition that contradicts the carefully constructed disposition that has been crafted to appear calm and neutral.
Texts tend to be reflexive, people do not think about them, they exist in a context of immediacy and spontaneity.
They provide a window that provides perhaps a reflection of someone’s real thoughts and intentions at times when they are not thinking like a litigant. Clients can send you the entire chain of texts between spouses so attorneys can review them to see if there is any gold in that mountain.
We as advocates need to tell our clients that if they do not want a judge to see it, don’t write it down.
Also, either spouse can subpoena the text messages from all numbers by subpoenaing the records from the cell phone provider.