Clients now are able to obtain a wealth of information about their ex-spouses from social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Copies of postings now appear attached to affidavits as proof of someone’s conduct and/or lifestyle. These posts can also be used to cross examine witnesses as they are difficult to deny or explain.
People who are going through a separation need to be extremely careful about what they or their friends post about them online. Posts can also be retrieved historically going back several years. Deleting posts is also not a good idea as it could be seen as destroying evidence.
Courts are still wrestling with when these posts are admissible and when they are not. Some will clearly be inadmissible because they are hearsay and others may need to be put in an appropriate context. Any evidence that is important enough will probably be deemed to be admissible even if it was illegally obtained. Clients however need to be cautioned against obtaining the information without their spouse’s consent as the court may frown on this conduct and it may produce a negative result.
Where people are avoiding service, a court can order that a person be served substitutionally through their email or Facebook account.
Deborah A. Todd