Yes, divorce lawyers can subpoena Facebook messages. In fact, they can request private and public messages from any social media platform. Providing this information is a legal obligation too. This might seem like the full story, but it is actually far from it! Get all the details you need with the information provided by mmfamilyanddivorcelawyers.ca below.
What Information Can Be Subpoenaed?
In almost all circumstances, any information can be subpoenaed during a divorce by a divorce lawyer or the court system itself. This includes public posts on your wall or feed as well as private messages between you and your friends, family or other associates. It is even possible to request deleted messages.
How to Protect Your Messages During a Divorce
There is no way to protect your messages from a divorce lawyer. You may think that deleting them is a favourable option, but increasingly this is seen as destruction or tampering with evidence, more than it is just cleaning out your inbox. In fact, doing so may not even solve the problem, as digital forensics and reconstructions can make retrieving them a simple (and expensive) process.
No, the only way to protect your messages, private or public, during a divorce is to not send them in the first place. Remember, even seemingly innocuous messages like telling a friend about a small lottery winning can be used against you in the courtroom by your spouse. If you are planning to get a divorce, the best practice is to stop sending messages as soon as possible.
What Activities to Avoid During a Divorce
As we mentioned earlier, the main activity to avoid during a divorce is communicating digitally in the first place. Secondarily, deleting whatever damning communications already exist should also be avoided. A third activity to avoid is playing hardball with the court system or defending divorce lawyers. Not only will it make you look very suspicious, but you can also be forced to turn over the information by court order and subpoena anyway. Trying to delay the inevitable will only serve to hurt your case, and your time could be better spent on other matters.
Keep in mind that private or public messages are not the only volatile information that may be available to the courts on social media. In custody battles, it is not uncommon for decisions to be made when parents post pictures on social media showing they are not tending to their children properly or lying about their whereabouts or timelines.
Other Beneficial Steps to Take
Perhaps the most important thing you can do during a divorce, and especially one that involves looking through social media messages, is hiring a divorce lawyer. These legal professionals can provide you with the information and advice you need to have the best chance of success during the proceedings.
In summary, social media evidence is becoming a regular part of divorce litigation. Avoid using social media platforms during a divorce in any capacity, and remember to retain a qualified and suitable divorce lawyer as soon as possible after the divorce begins.