Electronic Media Issues

Any family law attorney at Woodruff Family Law Group,  here in Guilford County, will tell you that electronic media issues have become a huge issue in family law. As the popularity of social media sites has exploded, the potential for problems to arise from their usage has as well. These issues most commonly arise with Facebook and emails, although other electronic media, such as texting, can be a source of concern as well.  

More and more people are posting more and more of their life online for the world to view. What many people do not realize is that once you put something on the internet, there is no way to truly ever remove it. Therefore, you need to be very cautious about what you are putting online, especially if you are dealing with any type of contentious issue, such as marital fault, child support, child custody, or divorce.   For example, posting a picture of your child with a beer bottle inadvertently in the background could hurt you in a contested custody case.

Demonstrating the importance of this issue, the North Carolina State Bar has instructed attorneys to advise their clients to avoid posting anything about their case on Facebook. Avoiding making any post regarding your case is a good rule of thumb that is easy to understand, even if sometimes it is difficult to comply with. At the end of a long day, following many arguments with your estranged spouse, you may feel the need to post on Facebook or Twitter venting your frustrations with the whole situation. However, such a post can come back to bite you and that same estranged spouse may try to use it against you. 

The same rule applies regarding text messages and emails. Sending an angry email or text message to your estranged spouse is a mistake. Any such threatening communication can land you in a world of trouble, possibly making you subject to a domestic violence protective order depending on the content of the communication. A threatening text, even if sent jokingly, can be taken very seriously by a judge. To avoid the potential issue altogether, stick to being polite and cordial to your estranged spouse, even if they are pushing all of your buttons. 

Dealing with a divorce or child custody battle is difficult enough as it is, there is no reason to make it more difficult on yourself. Sending a text or email, or posting on a social media site can throw up additional obstacles to accomplishing your end goal, whether it be a peaceful divorce, or a quick resolution to child support or child custody. You do not want to provide any type of leverage to your estranged spouse that can be used against you later. 

The prevalence of electronic media in today’s society makes it very difficult to refrain from making any type of objectionable post, email, or text. However, doing so, while difficult in the short term, will pay off in the long term by making the whole process a lot easier and smoother. The short term satisfaction of that negative post on Facebook will be outweighed by its long term consequences for your case.