In our blog we will try to provide you with general information regarding family law, as well as updates in important cases and statutes dealing with family law in New Hampshire. This is not to be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and small facts can make a difference.
How to Conduct Yourself Electronically During a Divorce
One of the most frequent problems we see with clients involves electronic communications. Thoughtlessly sent messages, whether it be via social networking sites, text message, or email, can come back to haunt an individual in a heartbeat. In particular, this statement applies to individuals who are going through a divorce or custody dispute. What constitutes electronic communications as so dangerous are also its very strengths: accessibility, speed, and convenience. Once they have been placed on the Internet for the world to see, they cannot be unwritten.
For this reason, we would like to offer some advice on how to conduct yourself electronically if you have a case pending in a New Hampshire family court.
§ First and foremost, assume that each tweet, text message, social media post, or blog posts will be examined by a judge. The American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers recently released compiled data stating that 81% of all divorce cases in 2012 presented evidence that was garnered from social media networking sites. It is imperative for parties to ensure that their posts and tweets do not provide the opposing party with additional ammunition. Furthermore, even in a court of law, these messages can quite easily be taken out of context. Even if an offhand, nasty comment resulted from provocation, a New Hampshire family court judge might not interpret it the same way. Do not provide your former spouse with ammunition that would cast you in the light of an unfit parent.
§ Do not express anger in the form of writing. Arguments should not be conducted via email or text messaging, if at all. Complaints about your spouse’s behavior or your children should not be expressed. Overtly negative messages should be avoided at all costs. Take the time that is needed to calm down, so that you can think rationally before anything is put into writing. If you can feel anger building inside, then your best option will be to discuss it with a therapist.
§ Do not trust anyone, even close friends and family members, with sensitive information. If even a single individual is party to sensitive or proprietary information, then you have ceded control over what happens to that information. With today’s modern modes of electronic communications, gossip can spread like wildfire. Once again, it is entirely too simple for certain pieces of information to be taken out of context. The chance that a judge will become privy to this information as well is a risk that is not worth taking.
§ Before posting any pictures or writing a message, take a moment to think. Is what you are about to write something you would be comfortable expressing, in person, in front of your parents, your employer, your children, your spiritual leader, or a New Hampshire judge? Once such statements and information are released onto the Internet, it becomes a matter of public record. If there is a remote possibility that you could be embarrassed by a statement later on, then it should not be stated in the first place.
Once more, this advice should qualify as common sense, but sadly, we have seen these scenarios play out time and time again in New Hampshire family courts. Consider the following facts:
§ 1 in 5 divorce cases across the United States now list Facebook as a contributing factor towards the demise of the relationship.
§ 1 in 5 American adults have stated that they use social media networks as a means of obtaining dates.
§ In a single Internet survey, 79% of American divorce lawyers stated that Internet browsing histories had been utilized as a source of primary evidence in divorce cases.
Whether it is a divorce or child custody case, there are certain protocol for electronic communications that must be followed if you want to maintain a professional, responsible appearance in a New Hampshire court of law. Of course, having an experienced and professional New Hampshire family law attorney as your legal representation is a critical, contributing factor.
If you have a case that will be, or is, currently pending in the New Hampshire family court system, please contact us today. It is our personal guarantee that your parental and/or spousal rights will be protected. As you take the necessary steps to improve your life, conduct yourself, both online and offline, in a manner befitting an adult. In doing so, you will increase the chances of receiving the settlement you desire and are entitled too.
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