On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Friday, February 22, 2013.
Divorce trials usually require the introduction of highly personal evidence. For example, it is common to hire private investigators to film spouses, or use forensic accountants to hunt for strange credit card charges.
Sometimes though, the evidence falls in your lap. Facebook and social media sites are often filled with very personal information which is increasingly being used in divorce trials. You may have heard of some examples:
- A Husband posts his status as single and childless on Facebook while seeking primary custody of his children.
- A mother is accused of never attending her kids’ school events because of her online gaming addiction. Evidence subpoenaed from World of Warcraft tracks her on-line with her boyfriend at the time when she was supposed to be with the children.
- A husband denies he has any anger management issues, but posts on Facebook; “If you have the balls to get in my face, I’ll kick your ass into submission.”
- A mom denies in court that she ever smokes marijuana, but then uploads photos of herself smoking pot on Facebook.
Is the evidence admissible? And if so, how do you prove the evidence is real and not maliciously put there? The Florida Bar Commentator published an article I wrote about using Facebook evidence at trial. Here is a brief abstract:
The article discusses the evidentiary potential of social media sites, and the peculiar challenges of authenticating materials from the internet. Social media websites like Facebook have had an astronomical growth worldwide, and are showing up in divorce trials. The article suggests some of the benefits and obstacles in gathering and using Facebook and other social media evidence at trial. The article also reviews the leading national cases on social media websites, and outlines when it is necessary to use computer forensic firms and other sources to ensure that the evidence is properly admitted.
My new article appears in the Winter 2013 issue of the Florida Bar Family Law Section Commentator.