Technology and Divorce Communication
The rise of technology has forever changed the ways in which people communicate. Emails and text messages are just two of the ways that have made it possible for people to connect from long distances. For divorced or separated couples, electronic communication can be an asset or an adversary depending how it is used. “Many times, divorcing parties discover technology that they did not even know existed being used against them,” says David K Wilkinson, Esq., a family law practitioner and founding partner of the law firm Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP. In his article “How Technology Can Impact A Divorce Case,” Wilkinson discusses how understanding technology in relation to a divorce case is so important for both divorce attorneys and divorcing parties alike. "There is nothing worse than litigating a case in court and observing evidence presented by the opposing side that is detrimental to your case,” he writes.
Electronic communication is a great resource for divorced or separated couples - particularly parents - because it allows for a dialogue to take place while still maintaining a distance between the two. While this is true, depending on the individual situation, some methods of electronic communication may be better used by divorced or separated parents than others. In high-conflict cases where there are children involved, it is important for the parents to choose a method of electronic communication that allows for a dialogue to take place while also keeping any conflicts far from their children’s earshot. It's also important for divorced or separated parents to keep their communications thoroughly documented and organized, especially if they must share information with an attorney or make a return trip to court. Organizing emails and text messages may come to be a more difficult than expected, as what you are looking for can be lost among other unrelated correspondence or simply deleted. Also, these relatively unsecured methods of communications could more easily allow for someone not privy to the communications to view them, such as in the case where a child plays with their parent's cell phone and inadvertently reads a new text message from the other parent coming across the screen. While these risks exist with traditional emailing and text messaging, there are other methods of electronic communication that may be a better option for divorced or separated parents who need something different.
As an alternative method of communication, “...many family law courts refer parties to Our Family Wizard to handle all non-emergency communications concerning child custody and visitation,” writes Wilkinson. He writes that one important benefit to using a tool such as Our Family Wizard for divorce communication is that a family law judge can access all of the communications between parties at the click of a button. Professional access to an Our Family Wizard account allows not only family law judges, but also family law attorneys and other professionals to gain access to client communication quickly and easily without having to continually request that information from the client. Communications within the Our Family Wizard website are well organized so that one does not have to sift through hundreds of unrelated emails or text messages in order to find what they’re looking for. Different features within each account also help to organize communication based on topic, and search tools within the website allow for keyword searches based on what information is needed.
Furthermore, divorced or separated parties who do use the Our Family Wizard website for messaging can use ToneMeter to review the overall tone of a message before sending. ToneMeter works like an "emotional spell-check" and will analyze a message and flag out any emotionally-charged phrases, allowing the user a chance to recognize the their tone and make adjustments to keep themselves from saying something that they may come to regret later.
Wilkinson also discusses how electronic communications may be used in the courtroom. While he says that text messages are one of the top three elements of electronic evidence used in divorce court, he also writes about the importance of being able to authenticate this type of evidence. Unless authenticated, emails and text messages will only be considered hearsay which, he explains, means that they are not admissible in court even if the communication was made by a party. Using the Our Family Wizard website for communication, divorced or separated parties are assured that their information is securely and thoroughly documented with sign in histories and timestamps on every entry and when entries are viewed by either party. Plus, obtaining communications as a parent or professional user on the website is simple and fast. While all entries are printable or able to be saved as a PDF, the Our Family Wizard website will provide business declarations of communications made within the website upon request.
Managing communication after a divorce or separation doesn't have to be an impossible or intimidating task. With the right tools, such as those found on the Our Family Wizard website, it is possible to communicate with an ex-spouse while also avoiding the "he said/she said" scenarios that often become messy in the courtroom. To learn much more about technology and its effect on divorce cases, read the full article titled “How Technology Can Impact A Divorce Case” by David Wilkinson, Esq.
Wilkinson, D. (n.d.). How Technology Can Impact A Divorce Case. Retrieved May 7, 2015, from http://orangecountydivorce.com/divorce-technology/