Social Media Can Screw Your Case up if You’re Not Careful
Video Transcribed: My name is Brian L. Jackson, and I’m a Tulsa Father’s Rights attorney with Dads.Law, we protect fathers’ rights in Tulsa, and today I would like to talk to you gentlemen about social media. Social media is a lawyer’s best friend and worst enemy in one and it can really screw your case up if you’re not careful. What do I mean?
Well, anything you put on the internet, but particularly social media, you might as well consider it written on a billboard. It is public and very public. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Facebook posts or stupid things people say come back to haunt them in court.
A particularly shining example I could think of is a case I did really early in my career where I was prosecuting a contempt citation against a gentleman. And this individual was being contested for not making payments on a certain vehicle he got in the divorce that he was ordered to pay the note on. And his defense was that he couldn’t afford to pay the note.
Well, his girlfriend got on Facebook and posted photos of the new SUV that this guy bought her and was bragging about him and talking about what a great guy he was. Well, she was unemployed so obviously, she didn’t pay for this. He did, she said he did. He’d been making the payments. So he got found guilty of contempt because of this Facebook post.
So social media in that regard can really jam you up fast and quick. What do I suggest you do about it? Well, I’m not saying don’t go on social media ever, that’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying is, one, as a general rule if you’re going to use social media, don’t post something if you wouldn’t want your boss to see it, if you wouldn’t want your ex to see it, if you wouldn’t want a judge to see it. Because guess who’s going to see it? Your boss, your ex, and if you end up in court, a judge. So keep that in mind before you post that photo of you drunk at the bar.
Also, if you are in the midst of litigation, for the love of Pete, do not talk about your case on Facebook. Do not post about the other party on Facebook. This is not a good place to go vent. Neither is Twitter, neither is YouTube or any other social media. If you need to vent, get a counselor.
Get a counselor who’s bound by privilege. Don’t do it on Facebook, because if you do, and you say something stupid, it’s coming in and you’re going to have to answer for it to the judge. As a general good rule, if you are going to use social media, don’t use it when you’re in the middle of litigation of any kind, but especially custody litigation. Stay the hell off there. It’s a big trap. All attorneys know to look up people’s social media and they do it. I do it.
And if you are anticipating going into litigation, and I’m going to give you this advice carefully, if you are anticipating going into litigation and you have not yet been served with discovery or a subpoena or anything of that nature, any legal process that requires you to preserve records, then you should sanitize your Facebook page, which is something you should probably do periodically anyway.
But this is the key thing, that’s only okay to do if you were not subject to the legal process. In other words, you’ve not been served with anything at all. Like for example, if you and your wife are fighting a whole lot and you’re thinking of walking, or it looks like she’s thinking of walking, you’ve been served with nothing and you have no notice of any discovery, a petition for divorce, anything like that, sanitize your Facebook page at that time.
Once you’ve been served you can’t, because once you’re served, that Facebook page could be considered the evidence and you don’t want to be destroying evidence. There’s a variety of ways that can bite you in the ass.
So understand that when I say this, what I mean is if you have not been served with legal process. If you’ve been served, get a lawyer and talk to them before you do anything.
And some of the things about social media to understand, keep your passwords private because if somebody else posts something on your wall, you could be responsible for it. Also, be careful who you friend, because again, if somebody posts something or tags you or anything like that, you could be responsible for it because it’s on your wall.
Guys, if you have questions about this issue or any other issue related to your rights as a father, go to dads.law where dads are not disposable because I’d love to help you out guys, my name is Brian L. Jackson and I’m an Oklahoma father’s rights attorney, if you are looking for a Divorce Attorney for Men, visit dads.law.