Family Law in the Age of Facebook

Call her Ms. Smith. She was single, fun and interested in men, she declared on her Facebook profile. Photographs on her page depicted her canoodling with her latest boyfriend at a Dallas cocktail lounge. A Budweiser sign is prominently displayed overhead.
But for Rick Robertson, the family law attorney who was representing her soon-to-be ex-husband (call him Mr. Smith) in a divorce and child-custody dispute, Ms. Smith’s Facebook postings afforded a Perry Mason moment.
Until then, Ms. Smith had successfully been denying her husband full visitation rights with his infant son on grounds that he was “abusive and had alcohol issues.” After Robertson asked for—and got—Ms. Smith’s Facebook password in open court, however, the discussion no longer turned on Mr. Smith’s moral character but on her own.
Ms. Smith’s statements and postings on Facebook “came back to bite her,” Robertson says. “The woman was clearly not single, but still married. She was also the mother of a 1-year-old son.”
The result? Ms. Smith undermined her credibility and accusations toward Mr. Smith. Robertson’s client won full visitation rights and ultimately gained leverage in securing more favorable terms in a divorce settlement. Even so, as Robertson emphasized while sitting in his tastefully appointed offices overlooking the manicured fairways of Gleneagles Country Club’s golf course in Plano, a posh suburb just north of Dallas, divorce court is not the place for clear-cut legal victories.

Written by Paul Sweeney. To read the full article, click here.


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