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Clients told to drop social media contacts during divorce case

If a divorce proceeding or a custody battle looms in one's future, it may be time to take decisive action to close down all social media postings and communications until further notice. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, almost all of the group's members said in a poll that the evidence taken from digital phones and other wireless devices, along with text messages from any source, are likely to be used as evidence in a divorce or custody proceeding. That reality applies to Georgia divorce proceedings and other family law matters.

Particularly in matters affecting children, such as custody battles or child support proceedings, members of the group stated that almost every case involved social media evidence. The posting of messages to new love interests on social media, whether serious or casual, or made in email communications, is unlikely to be ignored by custody lawyers attempting to show poor judgment on the part of the other parent. Indeed, in some family courts, the parties will be asked to provide all social media communications early on in the custody proceedings.

According to one practitioner, there are new and wide-open grazing grounds now available to prove infidelity and other types of familial misconduct. One expert points out that the habitual use of electronic communications these days may influence one to think that these are untouchable and harmless forms of social messaging. That is simply not true, and precautions must be taken, according to the broad consensus of matrimonial lawyers.

Furthermore, it may be futile to try and delete such material due to the permanency of the digital storage format. That is essentially why divorce lawyers in Georgia and elsewhere are now counseling their clients to close down their social media activities until the post-divorce or custody dust clears. Now, for the first time in several years, people are being counseled to watch out what they write and to stay safer by the old method of talking, instead of the 'blabbing' and 'broadcasting' that inevitably seems to occur on the social media waves.

Source: dispatch.com, "Technology potent tool in divorce cases", Rita Price, June 15, 2015

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