Discussion, instruction and live demonstration of online communication that constitutes domestic violence in a family law environment.  Examining the use of electronic data as evidence, the reliance on said evidence by mental health experts, and the presentation of such evidence and issues in family court. The panel will explore what types of email, text messages and social media usage may constitute harassment or “disturbing the peace” under current California law.  The panel will explore issues, including the level of impact and correlative proof necessary to establish that electronic activity can rise to the level necessitating protection and restrainable conduct, as well as the impact of such evidence on a child custody dispute. The panel will demonstrate how best to present and defend against such claims.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  1. Compare the types of electronic communication that may be offered by litigants seeking protection under the DVPA.
  2. Explain the considerations by a child custody evaluator and family law judicial officer when determining whether the offered evidence constitutes harassment or disturbing the peace rising to the level of restrainable conduct that may impact legal or physical custody.
  3. Demonstrate the evidentiary issues and technological challenges faced by attorneys presenting electronic evidence of domestic violence in a family law courtroom.
  4. Custody evaluators will be able to identify three problems with relying on digital information provided as ancillary materials in relation to admissibility of such evidence
  5. Draw distinctions between what may be considered as harassment versus normative conflict in co-parenting communication.