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Can Emails and Social Media Communications Be Used in a Contested Divorce?

Many written records of conversations exist today through social media, emails, texting and other forms of digital communication. In the past, courts were often at a loss to rule based on the “he said, she said” aspect of evidence. Increasingly, courts allow digital media records including emails, Facebook postings and text messages as evidence during discovery in contested divorce cases. By consulting with a Virginia Beach contested divorce attorney from the outset, you can receive valuable legal guidance and protect your rights.

Bates v. Bates is a classic example of how an email and Facebook posting affected the outcome of a contested divorce case. In this case, one of the contested issues was child custody. During the separation period, both parents shared joint legal and physical custody of the children. They attempted to reach a settlement outside of court but were unable to do so. The husband requested a child custody modification, alleging that the wife was alienating the children from him. A lower level court awarded custody to the husband and the wife appealed to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court reviewed the evidence in the case, including emails and Facebook postings as evidence provided during discovery. In a Facebook posting the wife called the husband a bad father, and in an email to him she threatened, “When this is over you’ll be lucky if you get to talk to the kids on the phone.” The court awarded custody to the father and based its decision on the wife’s inability to support the father’s relationship with the children.

Contested divorce attorneys in Virginia Beach can provide helpful legal advice to deal with divorce issues when emotions become heated.  

Darrell M. Harding brings more than two decades of experience to every case he handles. 

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