Q: Is this a true and accurate copy?
A: No. I don’t know whose writing this is…I don’t know what those circles mean…
Attorney: Objection. It’s obviously not a true copy, as the original does not have writing and circles on it.
Court rules can be tediously picky. If something isn’t phrased the right way, authenticated sufficiently, or previously produced, if requested, you may not be able to use it. This is true even if it is something important, reliable and tangible to the issues before the Court. This is just one reason why Court is so frustrating.
I had a case where the witness highlighted certain portions of an email. When the time came to testify about the email, the other party pretended to not recognize it, nor remember it. He wasn’t sure if he used that email address at that time. He certainly knew he didn’t highlight it and wasn’t sure he had seen it before. It was a dance of avoiding the obvious.
Ultimately, the email came in when the sponsoring party testified and I believe the other party lost credibility in feigning ignorance, however it was a good lesson on the rules/tricks of Court.
Matthew Thompson is a Family Law attorney in Mississippi and encourages you to practice, with your attorney, your testimony and how to authenticate an exhibit and get it into evidence.
Just because someone files something in Court does not make it so.
Allegations must be proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning more likely than not, or by clear and convincing evidence, which is a much higher burden.
Filing papers is the easy part. Making wild accusations takes little effort. Backing up your claims with corroborating testimony, physical evidence or other support is the hard part.
Before you make a claim think about how you will prove it. Are there witnesses, recordings, photographs, videos, incident reports, police reports, documents or other evidence? If not, perhaps you need to rethink your claim. You may lose credibility with the Court.
Matthew Thompson is a Family Law attorney and warns you that crying wolf may lead to you getting the result you deserve.
FaceBook is mainly used for comparing yourself to your high school friends and stalking persons you just met. Perhaps it can also be useful for bragging on yourself, your child’s latest, cutest thing and driving up “hits” on your blog. However, it is NOT to air your DIVORCE DRAMA!
FaceBook (FB) based evidence has been linked to over 1/3 of divorces filed since 2011 and is increasing. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers states that 81 % of its members have used or been faced with evidence plucked from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites in divorce cases over the last five years.
What are some of the things NOT to post on FaceBook?
- Don’t put that the other party was just a sperm/egg donor
- Don’t put that the other party is CRAZY, SATAN or PSYCHO!
- Don’t post pictures of yourself licking someone’s face at The Electric Cowboy.
- Don’t put pictures of yourself holding an alcoholic drink with 16 empties on the table.
- Don’t “check-in” at the Club, at 2:00 a.m., during your custody time with the children.
I have seen FB postings used in Court as circumstantial proof of fault. (Mushy messages to the old flame and hate-filled diatribes against that “dead beat.”) And, FB info has been used as proof with regards to moral fitness in custody battles. Parties in litigation have posted vulgar things about the other party and parties have put pictures of themselves behaving inappropriately on FB.
So you are thinking, “But my FB is set to private. Only my friends can see it and I blocked little Miss So and So.” Well the block may prevent them from gaining direct access, but guess what, you have a mutual friend that is forwarding the postings to your ex and/or that mutual friend is letting them log in under their name. Nothing is private.
Want to know what else to NOT put on FB? 5 more Don’ts.
Share your FB Family Law horror story…maybe I’ll blog about it. Oh, and LIKE me on FaceBook.
Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and recommends you not post your business on FaceBook.
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You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms.