A recent news story told of how a husband kept a spreadsheet of his wife’s excuses for not wanting to have sex. Then he emailed it to her. She then, for unknown reasons, posted the spreadsheet on the web site Reddit. The result of this marital problem became public knowledge and will likely prove to be of significant legal value for one or both of the parties.
In matters of family law and divorce, such information can be used as a key source of evidence. Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and even dating sites can prove to be invaluable and are changing the way legal matters such as child custody and guardianship are decided in court cases.
The truth is, not knowing about the technology available to the average person can do more harm to your legal situation that you can imagine. An innocent post on a an Internet site can be copied and stored for later use. Emails can be especially damaging. Cell phone records of text messages and phone calls are commonly used in both family law & divorce cases and criminal matters.
While it is easy to put the blame on the creators of the web sites for these problems, it is perhaps more realistic to acknowledge the posts simply announce difficulties in the marriage that have long been there. Some people believe that a forum or discussion board is private. Virtually anything posted on the Internet, everything from a Facebook profile to a comment made on a true confessions web site, is permanently stored by someone. You must thoughtfully decide everything that you decide to post anywhere on the Internet.
Access to personal technology and the information it records comes in many forms. A recent situation involved a pornographic video that appeared on an adult only web site. Apparently this was a hidden camera video of a woman engaging in sex with multiple partners. The woman’s boyfriend discovered the existence of the movie, and his girlfriend looked very much like the woman in the video. She denied ever being involved, but this had obvious long term repercussions for the relationship. While adult only sites are not considered “normal”, estimates are that about one-third of all Internet traffic is related to pornography.
The legal implications of social media can have their greatest weight in a court of law. In matters of family law and divorce, evidence that is recorded either through a screenshot, video, or other means is difficult to refute. At the very least, the suspicion of wrongdoing can be enough to sway the decision against you or the other person. Since it is clear that global use of the Internet will only increase, it is vital that you be aware of the legal problems and advantages recording and saving personal information presents.