Casper, WY (PRWEB) September 11, 2013
There’s not a day that goes by that a person doesn’t regret a social media posting they put up in haste for the world to see. Such messages could fill a veritable compendium of what not to do online.
There are certain situations, though, when the harm goes beyond embarrassment and progresses to actual financial damage. One such situation that has reared its head in recent years is when statements made by those going through a divorce come back as evidence during mediation or trial.
The Wyoming divorce lawyers of the Ochs Law Firm have been able to note a marked increase in social media posts being used as evidence by spouses attempting to get a favorable settlement or court decision. As a result, the practice has taken to warning each and every client that they should take a vow of silence when it comes to speaking about divorce online. Attorney Jason Ochs explains why:
“We as a society have gotten used to posting minutiae surrounding our daily lives,” said Mr. Ochs, “but one innocent comment can prove damaging when going through something as difficult as a divorce. You can bet that your spouse and their legal team in turn will be poring over anything they can get their hands on on your Facebook profile or Instagram account. If there’s anything online that contradicts a claim made in court, the entire foundation of an argument can crumble.”
What’s more, a decent amount of people don’t realize the damage they’re wreaking online. Lawyers.com recently released a survey which found that a scant 46% of Facebookers and 38% of Twitterers understood that their social posts were admissible in court.
Unfortunately, it’s not always blatantly obvious messages that will do harm to an individual’s divorce claims. The following tips put together by Ochs Law in regards to social media illuminate how even the seemingly innocuous can turn into anything but:
•Trash Talk Can Trash A Case- No matter how legitimate a person’s grievances are against a spouse, every argument they put forth will be immediately disadvantaged when they vent their frustrations on social media. It’s better to frame arguments in a constructive way with a lawyer and a mediator present than it is to stoop to the level of discourse typically afforded by a Twitter war. A disparaging online comment can be used by a spouse to portray a person in an unflattering light and call into question anything else they say.
•The Paper Trail Goes Digital- When a person Tweets about their night or posts photos of their recent experiences, they’re basically leaving a digital trail of the things they’ve done and the places they’ve gone. If they then try to claim something in court that doesn’t align with that electronic trail, the other spouse’s legal team will immediately call out their presentation of the facts. For instance, claims about being a responsible parent during a child custody dispute will immediately be refuted if there’s a photo of a person out on the town when they were supposed to be watching their kids.
•Privacy Isn’t Private- Many people will go against the advice of their lawyers because they figure that they can simply configure their privacy settings to only allow certain parties to view their information. The problem is that those privacy settings often aren’t as private as many may think they are. All a spouse would have to do is contact a mutual friend to access the pertinent materials. Plus, there’s always the possibility that a person doesn’t know the exact steps to take to protect content.
•Don’t Take The Bait- Spouses share many common acquaintances, and even when they unfriend one another, they don’t unfriend their shared friends. Thus, the conversation can turn to the divorce even when unprompted by the spouses. When this happens, it’s imperative that spouses maintain a safe distance, even when the conversation turns negative or another spouse spouts vitriol.
•Maintaining Control- Two can play at the social media game. Our clients are counseled to avoid the social discourse but monitor their spouse’s and friends’ own comments. Rather than engage further in a conversation that can only turn negative, it’s best to simply make a record of the event and hand it over to a lawyer.
Ochs Law is an award-winning practice recognized by such entities as the American Trial Lawyers Association, Super Lawyers, the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, and the American Association for Justice. With offices in Wyoming, California, and Colorado, the firm is able to offer representation to victims of defective products as well as assistance to persons going through divorce, filing class action lawsuits, defending against criminal accusations, and more. The practice’s website offers resources to those hoping to learn more about representation.