I recently had a case where my opposing party asked a friend of hers to set up an online fundraising effort to pay for her legal fees. The friend posted a number of derogatory statements about my client, the court appointed guardian ad litem (whose opinion holds a great deal of sway on the judge), and the judge herself. I found out about the fundraiser and subpoenaed all the communications between the opposing party and the friend.
Through this I was able to show both the guardian and the judge that my opposing party was making very personal and blatantly untrue statements about them on social media. This not only further damaged her credibility in the case but undoubtedly hurt her chances of being considered a responsible adult capable of raising a child. Given that her parenting decisions were the primary issue in the case, this was a huge win for my client.
In the end I got the custody schedule changed from my client seeing his child every other weekend to him having full legal and physical custody and the opposing party limited to supervised visitations a couple times a month. Of course, there was more to the case than just the social media postings. And such dramatic changes in custody are quite rare. But before you type out a rant on Facebook or twitter or other social media service remember: sometimes those messages can come back to bite you in a devastating way.
-Laura H. Stobie
McCarthy, Leonard & Kaemmerer, L.C.