Posted on | June 27, 2012 | No Comments
The use of social media in the court system is becoming more prevalent. The use of social media has become tremendously popular in recent years. Facebook is the most wide-spread social media site in use at this time. It has continued to grow since its inception and even went public this year making the creator one of the richest men in the world. Other social media or networking websites include Myspace, Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram. On each of these sites, pictures and comments can be posted for other users or the general public to see. There is a vast amount of information uploaded to these sites every day. People are constantly giving status updates and can now post a picture immediately through the use of a smart phone. As technology has developed so has the ease and quickness with which people can provide information to others on social media sites.
The information provided on social media sites can be used in a court proceeding against the opposing party. Social media can be directly related to child support, custody, or visitation. Parties are always looking for information to use in order to show a parent is unfit, parties too much, or is cheating on their spouse. A good lawyer will most likely be able to get information from the website into evidence. There are a variety of ways to show that a person posted the information on an account without violating the rules of evidence.
The possibilities are limitless as to what could be used against a party in a family law proceeding. As long as the information crosses the thresholds of traditional evidentiary rules, it will be allowed. Generally, lawyers face issues related to authenticity, relevancy, hearsay, and whether the evidence has a prejudicial effect that is outweighed by the probative value. According to the rules of evidence, if the trial court’s ruling that a jury could reasonably find proffered evidence authentic is at least “within the zone of reasonable disagreement,” a reviewing court should not interfere. Tienda v. State, No. 05-09-00553-CR, 2010 WL 5129722 (Tex. App.-Dallas Dec. 17, 2010) (unpublished).
Often times, issues related to child custody, child support, modification of an existing order, conservatorship and similar issues are hotly contested. The use of a piece of clear, visual evidence may be more alarming to the Judge or Jury than a statement. People are becoming increasingly bold with their use of social media and their posts. Something posted on a social media site could quite possibly become the turning point in a proceeding that determines who will maintain primary possession of the child or children.
It is important for all persons to keep in mind the posts they share with the world. It is easy to think of how a close personal friend or friends will find a comment or picture funny without realizing how that same comment or picture will be perceived by others. It is important to be mindful of the type of image you portray in regards to your social media postings whether you are going through a family law matter, personal injury matter or criminal matter. For any questions relating to issues regarding social media and the law or to find a Dallas Divorce Attorney, email Stephen R. Clark II, at The Wright Firm, L.L.P., firstname.lastname@example.org or check us out on the web at www.thewrightlawyers.com.