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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Don't Let Facebook Wreck Your Case!

 In family law cases, Facebook is the primary platform which usually produces evidence of inappropriate conduct.  Mostly because people can't shut up about their bad antics?

Since Facebook likely isn't going to go away anytime soon, parents should carefully consider what they put on Facebook. Facebook is so pervasive there are even laws and published case law involving the use of social media, particularly Facebook and Yelp. Attorney has seen Judges ream a client due to bad Facebook behavior.  Adults should not even need to be instructed re Facebook, but apparently it has become necessary. Kids have all time high rates of depression in part due to the over use of electronic media, see https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/

Facebook and Yelp will fight to the end to allow people to say anything they want.  This is a little concerning because parents may believe that just because they put stuff on Facebook, it means nothing.  This is incorrect. Free speech, arguing, and denigrating others online is par for the course. But when it comes to Family Law-- people seem oblivious to the ramifications. Personally we don't even believe in using Facebook at all.

But in Family Law--- attorney always tells clients---get everything you can on Facebook [against the offending party]  if it's relevant to what's going on, because the court will have to at least look at it to get an idea of that party/or your mindset; however judges don't actually like Facebook that much, because it normally causes problems. Remember that the Jerry Springer show was based on sensationalism and hyped up scenarios--- and Family Law is not far behind. Beware that your past Facebook postings can come back to haunt you.  As an example you can see below, that laws are often related to the use of social media:

A federal appeals court in Miami held that a "judge" needn't necessarily recuse herself from a case being argued by an attorney with whom the judge is merely Facebook "friends."  (The clear implication here would be that the judge is friends with one of the attorneys..)

The commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania held that an unemployment benefits board acted appropriately when it releid in part, on an applicant's Facebook post to determine that the applicant was not entitled to benefits.
A Texas law makes cyberbullying punishable by as much as a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.

........and even WORSE--- according to Harvard Business review, Facebook makes you feel worse if you use it more!!!!  https://hbr.org/2017/04/a-new-more-rigorous-study-confirms-the-more-you-use-facebook-the-worse-you-feel

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Another Win for Client!! Wrongful Moving of Child to Another State

Another WIN for a former pro se client!!!    

Attorney helped pro se client Sean S. after the former girlfriend (mother of child) actually physically took the minor child from California, to another state, despite fact that client had already established jurisdiction (UCCJEA) in California, by having filed the proper documents.

When he attempted to serve her, the mother had already left the state, but we were unsure of it. Later, the mother tried to claim she had established jurisdiction in the other state, which was virtually impossible due to the short time that had elapsed. [the subject of jurisdiction is different for parentage actions vs divorce actions, so do not assume anything and make sure you know the correct law for the case that you have..]

Subsequently, attorney helped client (still pro se) contact the child abduction unit and he went to SHARP to get the correct papers lodged and then served.  It did take almost 2 months, BUT in the end, the mother was served personally in the other state successfully!

We then appeared in Court recently, and requested an Order for the mother to immediately return the child to California,  our Request was granted, Judge issued an order, and a court date right after Labor day 2017 was set. If the mother does not appear, then the abduction unit will contact the proper authorities and ensure return of the child.  
---->UPDATE: Judge ordered that the minor child must remain in California, that California had jurisdiction, and client was given visitation pending full mediation.
If YOU have a parentage case, do not wait around before filing your documents.  Especially if there is a possibility of abduction, or flight from the Country (such as going to Mexico and never coming back)--- you are taking a huge risk by failing to file and serve your documents ASAP.

“Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result.”