The Dangers of Posting, Typing or Texting

Social Media is emerging as a new weapon in a divorce.  Electronic media is discoverable.  (Discoverable means that the information can be requested or subpoenaed and you can be asked about it in a deposition or in Court.)

If you are currently undergoing a divorce or preparing to file for divorce, be aware that your Facebook, Twitter or any other social media accounts may be discoverable in a divorce.  Any of the things you post, type or text may become an issue in your divorce proceedings.  Use caution as the dangers are significant.  Understand that what once seemed acceptable and harmless may now be unacceptable and damage your credibility.

Before you set your fingers on the keyboard or phone, stop to think.  Measure the impact of what you were intending to post, type or text.  Pictures can be especially dangerous.  Ask yourself; how would you feel if you were asked about this picture or post, under oath, at deposition or in a Courtroom in front of a Judge.  If any of those images are uncomfortable, don’t post, type, or text.  Do not put yourself in a bad situation by sending an angry text.  Understand that this text, while it seemed like a good idea at the time, may come back to you in a very negative way.  Divorce is hard enough, don’t make it harder with inappropriate social media posts.

The general rule of thumb is “when in doubt, don’t.”

Thinking about a divorce or separation? Feeling overwhelmed with uncertainty?

Don’t know what to do?  What will happen to the children? Who pays the bills?  Where will you live?  These are common questions of those who are experiencing a potential divorce or separation.

Learn the process

First, take a deep breath, open your mind and begin to learn.  Educate yourself about the process of divorce or separation.  Understand the common progress a divorce may take.  Understand and be comfortable with the facts surrounding your divorce and your options.  Every divorce is different.  Divorce can be an emotionally charged process.  It is difficult to make educated and informed choices about separation or divorce without first knowing what to expect. Sometimes a therapist or close friend may help you.  Do not look as this as a weakness.  View this help as a strength builder.

Time, Sensitivity and Advice

Recognize that you need time, sensitivity and advice that you can count on. Do not succumb to the feelings of being overwhelmed.  Recognize these feelings as a call to action.  One of the best ways to combat the feeling of being overwhelmed is to meet with an experienced divorce attorney and obtain some information about your situation.  Obtain the information and advice you need to make these important personal decisions for yourself and your family. Learn how to make the process of divorce and separation a little less overwhelming.  Ryan Faenza Carey, Attorneys at Law 508-668-9112.

Before your divorce is final, either side in the divorce may decide to change names.

PROTECT THE OPTION

This is an easy thing to do before your divorce is final.  However, you can only go back to a maiden name or a former married name.  You cannot pick a completely new name.  (If you want to choose a new name, you must go through the process set up by the Family and Probate Court and pay the fee – $165.00.)

CONSIDER THE CHOICES

Traditions have changed over the years with regard to names.  Many people now choose to keep their original/maiden names when they marry.  Some couples choose to share a hyphenated last name, and other couples have come up with even more creative options.  The name change issue is often harder for parents.  Many struggle with the decision to have a different last name than their children by retaining the name of a divorced spouse.  Parents with older children who will be grown soon may find it uncomfortable to be carrying the last name of a former spouse long after the divorce is over and the children are grown.

DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO?

If you are going through a divorce and don’t know what to do, you don’t have decide immediately.  You can hold on to your right to change your name at a future time.  Just make sure that your final order (separation agreement) says you can change your name in the future.   If you do not preserve this opportunity for yourself, and later want to change your name, you will have to file the paperwork and pay the fee to get a legal change of name through the Probate and Family Court.

Remember . . . to make sure the right to change your name is in your separation agreement.

People are often confused by  the meaning of a “contested or uncontested divorce.”  The two are not mutually exclusive.

CONTESTED OR UNCONTESTED

“Contested” usually means the parties cannot agree on financial support, how to divide the property or assets and the parenting plan for their children.  Until the issues are decided, the case remains “contested” in the sense that there are still undecided issues.  Most divorces that start out “contested” usually end up becoming uncontested once the disputed issues are resolved.  The filing of a “Complaint for Divorce” does not mean that the parties will never agree on all of the issues between them.  Most divorce cases end with agreement of the contested issues (the Separation Agreement.)

FILING FOR DIVORCE

“Filing” for divorce does not mean the process cannot move forward in an friendly manner and stay out of court.  Filing for divorce may get the process started and begin the efforts to end the marriage.   An individual does not have to “decide” in advance whether they want to opt for a “contested” or an “uncontested” divorce.  These are merely words used to describe what is occurring.  Very few divorce cases end up “contested” at the end of the day.  The few cases that remain “contested” may be forced to have a trial at great financial expense and emotional cost.  Going to trial should be avoided if at all possible.

STRIVE TO RESOLVE

Work hard to settle the disputed issues. Consider compromise to bring financial and emotional savings for the family.  Do your best to put aside some of the accumulated marital knowledge that may be holding you back from resolving  contested issues.  Realize that even a “bad” settlement is better than a “good” trial, because there is predictability, closure and financial and emotional savings for a couple and their children.  Have “uncontested” be the ultimate goal for you and your family.

Minor children and guardianship issues have been in the news lately.  Guardianship is a legal process for a child who is

  • under eighteen and not under a parents’ care,
  • or has been removed from the care of a parent or parents.

The guardian takes on the role of a parent in providing a stable home and making everyday decisions about a child’s health, education, and safety.  This process is accomplished through the Family and Probate Court in your county.

Petition for Appointment of Guardian

Paperwork or the “Petition for Appointment of Guardian” must be filed and the parent or parents made aware of the Petition, even if the parents consent to the appointment.  This must be completed in order for a guardian to be selected and appointed.  (There is no filing fee for this process.)  Monetary support may be received by the Guardian as determined by the Court.

A child age 14 or older is given special consideration in Guardianship cases, as the child will be involved in the process and may select the Guardian.  A 14 year old child or older, must receive copies (be “served”) of the Petition and other filings sent to the Court.

Parents may receive a ruling from the court that the guardianship is “permanent.”  This determination can be changed.  A parent must demonstrate to the Court that a “change in circumstances” has occurred and the Parent is now fit to care for the child.

There is no doubt that this process is stressful for anyone involved.  The attorneys at Ryan & Faenza can help guide you through the procedure and help you reach final resolution.  508-668-9112.