The Associated Press reports on a story I’ve discussed before: Divorce lawyers gathering evidence on social-networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. The Associated Press reports that, “Sixty-six percent of the lawyers surveyed cited Facebook indiscretions as the source of online evidence, [an official at American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers] said. MySpace followed with 15%, followed by Twitter at 5%.”
Sharing too much on social networks has led to an overabundance of evidence in divorce cases.
The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says 81% of its members have used or faced evidence from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites, including YouTube and LinkedIn, over the last five years.
“Oh, I’ve had some fun ones,” said Linda Lea Viken, president-elect of the 1,600-member group. “It’s very, very common in my new cases.” [...]
Neither Viken, in Rapid City, S.D., nor other divorce attorneys would break the attorney-client privilege by revealing the identities of clients, but they spoke in broad terms about some of the goofs they’ve encountered:
• Husband goes on Match.com and declares his single, childless status while seeking primary custody of said nonexistent children.
• Father seeks custody of the kids, claiming (among other things) that his ex-wife never attends the events of their young ones. Subpoenaed evidence from the gaming site World of Warcraft tracks her there with her boyfriend at the precise time she was supposed to be out with the children. Mom loves Facebook’s Farmville, too, at all the wrong times.
• Mom denies in court that she smokes marijuana but posts partying, pot-smoking photos of herself on Facebook. [...]
They’re called privacy settings for a reason. Find them. Get to know them. Use them. Keep up when Facebook decides to change them.
Viken tells a familiar story: A client accused her spouse of adultery and he denied it in court.
“The guy testified he didn’t have a relationship with this woman. They were just friends. The girlfriend hadn’t put security on her page and there they were. ‘Gee judge, who lied to you?’”
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