This week we’ll discuss how you should handle both communication with your ex- and what (if anything) you should say on social media during your divorce or child custody case.
Whenever I meet with potential new clients, whether it’s a new matter or a modification of prior orders, I always ask how do you communicate with your ex-? In this day and age, there’s so many ways- text, email, or just old-fashioned talking to someone. Text and emails are a convenient way to communicate without having to speak to someone you’d probably never rather speak to again, but text and email are also forever. I always give the following advice: Do not text or email anything to your ex- that you don’t want to be Exhibit A in your next hearing in front of a Judge. If you’re annoyed, angry, pissed off, etc., do not hit Send. Take a deep breath, walk away from your phone or computer for a couple minutes, and then come back when you’ve cleared your head.
Your ex- can record your conversations with him/her. Colorado is a one party consent state, which means that only one person involved in a conversation has to know it’s being recorded for it to be legal. Does this mean you can stand close and record a conversation you’re not a part of? No, that’s illegal. How about placing a tape recorder in his/her car to see what’s being said? I had a client whose husband actually tried to record her that way, and he testified that his wife had actually given him permission to put a tape recorder under the driver’s seat of her car. That’s illegal BTW. What about putting up cameras in your house, that you happen to share still with your soon to be ex-? Also not allowed, they live there too and have an expectation of privacy in what’s their home too.
What about Facebook?
Keep your situation off Facebook. Even in this day and age of over-sharing everything, this is something that does not need to be out there for everyone to see. Also, protect your page. The general public at large does not need to see your Facebook profile page, even if you’re not going through a divorce/child custody case. Side note- I say this as a Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney too. I continue to be amazed at the amount of incriminating information law enforcement can pull off of open Facebook profiles. I’ve seen the police ascertain who was involved in a string of convenience store robberies because they had one suspect, whose Facebook profile just happen to be public. The police were able to compare photos of his friends on his Facebook profile to the surveillance videos of the robberies, and they were then able to identify everyone else involved in the robberies. But I digress . . .
One of the first things any family law attorney who’s worth their salt should do is check out the opposing parties’ Facebook profile. There is always something there. Whether it comments related to the ongoing case, stupid behavior, complaining about their ex-, there is always something they’re going to find that they will use against you.
All of this case admitted against you as evidence
Texts, emails, social media posts, and voicemails can all be introduced as evidence in court. I always think that text and email are the most efficient way to communicate with your ex-, but at the same time, it’s also an incredibly easy way to say something stupid that can bite you later. So take a deep breath, don’t say/type/post anything you don’t want a Judge to see, and if you think something might be questionable- then don’t say it.