Rules of evidence and online communication

Posted by Erin Birt | Oct 19, 2011 | 0 Comments

Social media, such as Facebook, and other internet communication is changing the landscape of divorce settlement negotiations and divorce trials.  Domestic Relations courts generally accept emails, text messages, online pictures, and Facebook posts as relevant evidence.  And as businesses are going paperless, more and more internet produced documents are being submitted by parties during discovery and in the courtroom. This post will focus on Illinois Rules of evidence and online communication.

The rules of evidence have evolved and it is now easier than ever to authenticate online documents and communication and to perfect evidentiary foundations required to introduce internet documents and communication into evidence. There has been an expansion of the hearsay exceptions, business records, and ways to authenticate documents.  The new methods of authenticating documents and introducing evidence should shorten the time of court appearances and trials and thus free up resources for other matters.

Rules of evidence and online communication: TIPS

What does this mean for the average party to a divorce case?

1. Follow the old adage ‘never put anything in writing' especially in email and through the internet unless you understand that it most likely can and will be used against you;

2. Be upfront with your attorney about your emails and online posts so your attorney can adequately prepare you; 3. Don't assume that your privacy settings will protect you;

4. Take internet communications seriously during settlement negotiations, in either a collaborative divorce or a court-based divorce setting, because should your case proceed to trial the communications may be used as evidence against you.

Contact us today to prepare your Illinois Divorce for the best chance of success and to review the Rules of evidence and online communication that can interfere with your legal goals.  We can explain how the Illinois Rules of evidence and online communication can harm or help you today.

Schedule a Consultation with Attorney Erin Birt

About the Author

Erin Birt

Since 2003, Erin N. Birt, J.D., CADC has focused her practice on parenting time, divorce, mediation, and substance abuse issues. Ms. Birt's unique background in both family law and addictions counseling help her clients successfully navigate the complex issues of coparenting and divorce. Ms. Birt also devotes her time to presenting at continuing education seminars for attorneys, mediators, and counselors.


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