by Cassandra Jones

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February 15, 2013
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Online changes first step in law case

During a divorce or child custody case, you should behave as though a detective and camera crew are following you and recording you and your conversations at all times. This means managing your email, social media, and public behavior so that things are not taken out-of-context and presented to the court.

Assume your email, social media posts, photographs, and phone calls can all be copied or recorded by the other side and presented to the judge at the time of trial. Even if your ex is blocked from your social media, assume that you have friends in common who may print your posts/photographs and provide them to him or her. I recommend asking your friends to avoid posting about your case and your activities; your ex may be able to directly or indirectly print such updates. Set your social media privacy very tightly so that the fewest number of people can view your updates or photos. Or better yet, get off social media entirely.

Do not drink or use controlled substances, except as prescribed by a doctor, during a marital litigation. Assume that your ex may use any relationship, or any public display, to support his or her claims and negate yours. Do not do anything that you would not perfectly happy with a family court judge seeing, hearing or finding out about when the judge is deciding your custody case.

Additionally, there are risks associated with email and online accounts, especially. For example, if you use a work email address, you should know that your employer is the owner of the email and that records of your work email can be subpoenaed. Further, your ex may know your password to any email or online account, or they may be saved on a computer your ex has access to. Because of that, I recommend that you change your passwords to online accounts.

I recommend that you open an entirely new email account. (You can get one for free from Gmail, with unlimited storage capacity.) You should designate a new password for this account, one you have not used before. You should never, ever save the password on any computer owned by or accessible to your employer, ex, or children. You should use this email for any communications related to your marital litigation. As a bonus, this email account can act as your electronic file for the case - storing all scanned copies of pleadings, court order, and the like.

Changing your passwords, setting up a dedicated email, and limiting your social media posts are some simple, practical steps you can take to protect yourself and your children in family court.

Cassandra Jones is an elder law and family law attorney in Gardnerville. She can be reached at 782-0040.

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The Record Courier Updated Feb 15, 2013 05:12PM Published Feb 15, 2013 05:11PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.