Change in Seasons, Change in Statutes

Autumn came to Spokane literally overnight.  One day I was sweating in my suit as I walked over to the court house and the next day I was shivering in my boots.  Autumn is, in fact, my favorite season, but a little warning would’ve been appreciated!

My personal goal for October is to get to Green Bluff for the Apple Festival.  I have to map out a Friday to accomplish this task because Green Bluff has gotten so (deservedly) popular that it’s a chaotic traffic mess on the Saturdays.

Meanwhile, I need to sit down and write a post about the new child support statutes that went into effect on October 1, 2009.  These new statutes are long-awaited and make some much needed changes to the economic table as well as to the medical support provisions.  I worked with the new child support order form last night and was fascinated at the amount of changes incorporated into the form.

There is also some important new legislation pertaining to deployed military members that I need to digest.  I’ll add those statutes to the pile of blog posts that need drafted.

Oversharing Online

Social networking and blogging is booming. It’s a great tool for people to connect or keep family and friends up to date. However, it can also be a stumbling block for folks embroiled in a family law case.

One of my routine techniques of informal fact gathering is to check the names of opposing parties on mySpace and Facebook. It always amazes me how much information I can gather with a simple search.*

A lot of folks either (1) don’t realize how simple it is to track down their personal websites; or (2) mistakenly feel anonymous or safe because a nerdy lawyer couldn’t possibly think of checking mySpace. (Note: There are a lot of nerdy lawyers who own mySpace and Facebook accounts – we’re aware of the phenomenon.)

It’s a simple matter to make your accounts private and to block unwanted users from viewing your information. It’s also not a bad idea to keep sniping at the ex or sniping about the ex off topic, even if your site is private. Also, be aware that your “friends” who are allowed access to your account could suddenly switch sides and start reporting on your posts.

Before hitting “publish” or twittering or even sending that IM, ask yourself if what you are about to publish would embarass you if it shows up attached to your ex’s declaration. If the answer is “yes”, hit delete instead. Less said, less mended.

*There are a plethora of evidentiary issues with admissibility of websites or print-outs from websites. However, whether or not I can admit the information I find on a website, it can still be very useful as part of the information trail.