Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Divorce Attorney Warns: Cyberspace Tells All

Think Twice Before You Press "Send"

Cell phones, computers, voice messages, text messages, emails and facebook communications are all second nature to most of us by now, and we routinely "speak" by these electronic means without giving it a second thought. But beware of the potential unintended consequences of quick communications like these, especially when you are involved in a family law proceeding where your words may cause unnecessary friction and/or come back to you through your spouse's attorney.

Electronic communications are handy, and perfect for today's hectic world. Text the kids, letting them know when you are picking them up. Respond to an email by cell phone when you have a spare second. Leave a voice mail when the person you are trying to reach is unavailable. Send your friends pictures of your vacation while you are waiting in line at the store. Review your calendar and twitter your whereabouts. Cyberspace has marvelously spontaneous tools to stay ultra connected and up to date.

But the immediacy of these communications may inadvertently tempt you to "speak" before you think, and once you press "send", you can't retrieve your thoughts. If you are going through a family law proceeding, and you need to communicate with your soon to be ex spouse by email, always save the draft communication for another review (and edit) before you press "send ". Take a moment, an hour or "sleep on it" before you send an email. If you are leaving a voice mail, make sure it is necessary, clear, unemotional, factual and brief. In other words, avoid the temptation to electronically "vent" and editorialize. It might momentarily feel good, but it almost always causes more trouble and expense than it is worth.

Discuss these issues in advance with your family law attorney. Develop a plan and rules regarding appropriate communication with your soon to be ex spouse. Especially if you co-parent, learning how to directly and effectively communicate is an absolutely necessary skill. Let your family law attorney guide you before you press "send".

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/


1 comment:

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