Do this, not that: Common Mistakes Clients Make in Family Law Cases
There is a saying that Ã¢â¬Ånothing pays off like restraint of pen and tongue.Ã¢â¬Â Like other cautionary clichÃÂ©s, this statement is especially pertinent to those who are involved in disputes with others, whether legal or otherwise. In family law cases, clients must show significant restraint under the circumstances to avoid providing ammunition to the adversaryÃ¢â¬âespecially in a world where it is so easy to communicate instantly via Facebook, Twitter, texting or voicemail.
People involved in family law cases should carefully monitor their use of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. For example, letÃ¢â¬â¢s use the scenario of Mr. and Mrs. X, who are going through a divorce. Mr. X has had a rough day and finds himself reflecting upon his marriage and subsequent breakup with Mrs. X, and posts an angry status update to Facebook disparaging his soon-to-be ex-wife. At trial, Mrs. Ex (whose best friend is still Facebook friends with Mr. X), presents this Facebook post as evidence that her Husband has anger issues and is an unfit parent. It may be surprising how devastating these types of posts may be to your legal case in the stark light of the courtroom (or Judge's chambers). The Judge does not want to hear derogatory remarks made in a public forum by one party against the other party, especially when children are involved.
The same scenario can be applied to other methods of communication, such as voicemails. It is fairly common for threatening or angry voicemails to be used as evidence in family law cases. Imagine how embarrassing it would be to relive a weepy, furious voicemail as it is played aloud in front of the judge! If you think you might have trouble abstaining from inappropriate communication with the other party, delete or block their number from your phoneÃ¢â¬âitÃ¢â¬â¢s better to have no communication than to take that risk.
Finally, it is important for those involved in family law matters to be wary of talking to friends, family members or other unrelated parties about details of their cases. Those Ã¢â¬ÅfriendsÃ¢â¬Â or confidants might be subpoenaed as witnesses at trial, where they will have to divulge the details of their trusted conversations with one of the parties. Furthermore, if you discuss the communications with your attorney, the attorney-client privilege no longer applies and all of the attorney-client privileged communications can come into evidence and be used against you.
This advice is not meant to be a harsh condemnation, but rather a cautionary guide. It is fairly easy for those involved in family law matters to Ã¢â¬Åstay out of troubleÃ¢â¬Â by choosing not to act impulsively and electing to communicate with the other party solely (or at least primarily) through their lawyer. A competent family law attorney can help you avoid common pitfalls and deliver the best possible outcome in your case.
In addition to divorce matters, our firm also takes on cases involving child support, custody battles, relocation issues, domestic violence injunctions, will and probate, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. While our main office is in Gainesville, we also handle family law matters through our satellite offices in Ocala, Chiefland, Lake City, and Palatka.
For help with your legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com
BY: Stephanie N. Mack, Board Certified Marital & Family Law Attorney
August 20, 2012