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Social media may be used as evidence in family law cases

Some people in Tennessee who are going through divorces give little consideration about their social media accounts, their text messaging and their emails. All of these can be used as evidence in family court in divorce and child custody cases, however.

When people say something online, their words can be printed out and used. Simply blocking the other spouse is not enough. It is possible for a spouse to view an account via another person's account, and his or her attorney may be able to subpoena copies of what has been posted directly from Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or other social media platforms. Similarly, attorneys are able to subpoena transcripts of text messages and emails even if the people who wrote them have erased the messages.

People may be unaware how what they say might be used against them, believing it is harmless. One example is when people post pictures of vacations and expensive purchases during their divorces. If the other spouse is seeking alimony, these types of pictures may be admitted into evidence to show that the person who posted them has more money than he or she is claiming. People who post pictures of themselves partying may have trouble in their child custody matters, and those who have online dating profiles may find that those profiles may come back to haunt them in court.

Ideally, people who are thinking about filing for divorce should stop using social media altogether for as long as their cases are open. If that is not possible, it is still important for people to think carefully about what they post as well as what others might tag to their pages. Those who are in a child custody dispute may want to have their attorneys monitor the other party's usage.

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Stanley A. Kweller, Attorney at Law
214 Second Avenue North, Suite 103
Nashville, TN 37201

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