My ex and I have been using wizard for almost 2 years. My ex has written so many nasty emails. Do I need to print them all up for a judge to see them? Can judges access the website? We haven't seen the judge in 2 years because my ex keeps pushing back the court date so there is A LOT of messages on there that can also question if she's competent to care for the children.
If there is something that you want to get in front of a judge, make it as easy as possible for them to see it. Do not expect that they will log onto a website. I would print them all out, find three or four of the most egregious, put those on the top of the stack, and then present the whole stack to show the volume.
The judge will decide how many he or she has to read to get the picture. Please understand that family law courts do not have much time for bickering between parents. If these emails are just her ranting at you, the judge may not be interested. If they are evidence of her neglecting your children the court will probably take notice.
Children suffer when parents bicker. If there is anyway you can calm the situation down please do so to lessen the stress.
Do NOT print the entire OFW for an exhibit. The judge will hate this and you will not be looked upon favorably. You do NOT, repeat, do NOT want to look like you are using OFW to build your case.
Both of you must mutually give permission for anyone to access your OFW account. Often, forensic evaluators do this (730 or 3111 evaluators.)
You only need the most recent few messages and maybe one six months ago and another six months before that to show a pattern of refusal to cooperate.
Also, you MUST explain the context of the message in your declaration and then list it as an attachment. If you dump a ton of documents at the end of your declaration, the judges are not impressed any many won't read it.
Brevity is the key. The judge is reading 25 other cases for the same morning...don't bury him/her in minutia. Make your pages count.
That is the advantage of having an experienced family law attorney...we know what to include and what not to include.
Generally speaking, I have seen these, and other forums of email, presented to the court attached to a declaration detailing specifically what your concerns regarding the best interests of the children are. The exhibits are just that --corroborating evidence of your concerns. The most serious and recent generally are best when trying to illustrate to the court that the conduct is unhealthy to a co-parenting relationship and how the behavior affects the children. Remember, judges unfortunately do not have the ability to look at voluminous amounts of documents for each party. Thus clear and concise, direct and to the point is always best.
Perhaps the most expedient thing to do here is to file a motion to ask the court to appoint minor's counsel who can have a court order allowing minor's counsel access to the family wizard postings. Let minor's counsel look in to what you are complaining about and make a report to the court. There must be some detriment to the child(ren) as a result of these postings and/or violations of conduct orders imposed on both of you while communicating on OFW otherwise, the court will not see the need to appoint minor's counsel.
More and more courts are using OFW. OFW has a sample order which permits the judge to directly access your OFW account. If this provision is not a part of your order you should ask the judge to order it. You would then direct the court to the offending emails by date and time and the court may then consider the language in determining how it impacts your custody/visitation case. This is one of the reasons OFW is preferable over standard email messages which, due to inconsistencies in responses to specific threads, the potential for tampering, and the sheer volume of emails, are cumbersome, and tend to greatly lengthen the time consumed in hearing, while at the same time running the risk that important information might be overlooked. Even if the court does not have a written order to access your OFW account, you may ask it to do so in the interests of judicial economy. It's best to make the request in advance of the hearing, if you have time, so you will have a handle on how best to prepare the evidence in your case. Good luck!
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