Social media is a powerful source of evidence

Over the last few years the use of social media has become one of the most common places for most people to source news, entertainment and share social banter with friends and family members. However did you realise it has now become a source of invaluable information and evidence for family lawyers?

Social media platforms have also become increasingly important for businesses to raise brand awareness and share news, therefore if people are using social media for personal or business purposes it is advisable to be very careful and considered when uploading content.

Peter Dadswell, Family Lawyer at Smith Partnership spoke about this new evidence source for lawyers: “We have become increasingly conscious of the evidence we can gather from public online platforms for our family law cases. Whether it’s a divorce case or children are involved, what better evidence can have than something created from the hand of the other party? 

“There can be little argument over the admissibility of the evidence when it has been obtained entirely from the public domain. Therefore we are always searching for evidence to support our client’s claims, with the objective to get a reasonable and fair result without creating more acrimony between the parties.”

SELF-INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE

A man in Milwaukee, USA is facing criminal charges after recently posting a photograph of himself surrounded by a large amount cash, when he had never made a single child support payment for his two year old child. He now faces imprisonment for his failings.

The Smith Partnership Family Department have used social media to obtain evidence to assist in representing clients, for example:

• They found threats to kill posted by the other party on Facebook

• Alleged poverty plea in a divorce case by a wife, when she was seen sipping champagne on the beach in Tenerife on Facebook, commenting “Courtesy of my husband.”

• Change in relationship status on Facebook “Engaged to…” when a wife intended to cohabit with another man during a divorce case, providing evidence of unreasonable behaviour

• Evidence in support of an allegation that a man had breached a Restraining Order after an attack on our client’s home was provided by his own Facebook status, he said “She will never prove it’s me”!

Our family law team would advise to always be open and honest in the litigation process, as social media offers a perfect place to piece together evidence of personal circumstances and locations. 

If you need any advice or assistance in a current family dispute, please contact Peter Dadswell of Smith Partnership Family Department on 01332 225354.