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Divorce Lawyer and Criminal Defense Attorney for Rhode Island & Massachusetts 2011-11-15 22:08:00

Facebook Passwords Must Be Shared in Divorce Case
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A Connecticut judge ordered a divorcing couple to share their Facebook and
other online account passwords, underscoring the importance social media
information plays in family court cases.
The judge issued the order in response to the husband’s revelation his wife
wrote incriminating posts on Facebook about her feelings towards the children
and her ability to care for them on the couple’s shared computer. Wife Courtney
Gallion was also ordered to hand over passwords for her eHarmony and
In March, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found 80 percent of divorce cases
included social media posts, mostly from Facebook, as evidence in the past
five years. And the evidence can extend beyond written posts to the pictures
that users include on their profiles.
“I saw a picture of a toddler in front of a coffee table with bags of
marijuana, whiskey bottles and a big pile of money,” said Janice Davidson,
director of the Marion County Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau, to the
station. “We called Child Protective Services and got them involved so they
could make sure that child was protected.”
Administrative Law Judge Ellen Bass ruled today a Paterson, N.J.-based
teacher’s comments, referring to the school’s students as “future criminals” in
a frustrated post, “demonstrated a complete lack of sensitivity to the world in
which her students live.”
Bass recommended the teacher be removed from her tenured position.
Lawyers aren’t the only ones snooping online. Police, prosecutors and health
insurers are increasingly mining social media for evidence to prosecute crimes and
investigate fraud. Lawyers are even increasingly sifting through the
postings, messages and check-ins on social networking sites to even determine jury selection.
Some may see the judge’s order in the Gallion case as court-sanctioned
hacking, but others see it as a reasonable request for a relevant piece of a
family court puzzle. Regardless, the court is following the population’s
fascination with the technology and ruling as it sees fit, and the increasing
prevalence of Facebook and social media will ensure the subject will likely be
one courts will wrestle with in the future.
This post
originally appeared at Mobiledia.———————————————————————————-
If you have questions about this posting or are interested in Divorce, Immigration, or Estate Law in RI or MA contact Massachusetts and Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer Rui P. Alves at 401-942-3100 or CONTACT him via email.