Dad wants to use facebook as evidence

 

            Posted on April 12, 2015  

              Dad wants to use facebook as evidence

Q. My ex-wife, who is a stay at home mom, has been doing some bad things including using drugs and posting pictures of herself partying on Facebook. She and I remain “friends” on Facebook so I have been able to print her page. I filed a modification asking for sole custody of our 4 year old after DCF became involved based on a complaint made by the preschool teacher. I now have temporary sole custody and my ex has limited supervised visits. We are heading to trial next month. My ex found a lawyer but I can’t afford one now that I am paying full-time daycare and alimony and have stopped working overtime to be home for our child.
I heard it is hard to use Facebook pictures and posts in court. Can you tell me how to use what I have printed? These pictures and posts are critical to my keeping custody.
V.D. (Oxford)

A. To get this type of evidence admitted at trial, you need to lay a foundation by proving your ex has knowledge of the documents. Also ask her to admit she created those pages or put them up on her Facebook page. If she denies it, ask her who else has access to her Facebook account with permission to put up pages she doesn’t know about. Make sure the print outs you have include her profile showing her user name, typically her birthday and any other unique identifying information.
Send a copy of the printouts to her lawyer before trial saying you intend to offer those documents as exhibits. Make sure you don’t miss the boat by checking your notice for trial to see the date by which you must sent copies of all your exhibits.
Make sure the document you have is complete, even if parts are not relevant to your case. Show the entire document to your ex. Ask her to confirm that is a printout of her Facebook profile, her date of birth, and other identifying information. Ask if the document accurately reflects updates she posted and if she posted the photographs. If there are any, asked her who tagged her and to identify that person. If you know that person’s name and address, subpoena that person as a witness to testify to the authenticity of the photos.
Once the judge admits your exhibit as evidence you may use it for any purpose. So ask where your child was during the party scenes she posted.
As soon as she figures out you got this stuff from her Facebook page, don’t be surprised if after the trial your ex unfriends you. If so, stay calm and carry on.