21 Aug Social Media and Divorce
As our world becomes more connected online, the impact of social media becomes more relevant, and sometimes more important, in a legal sense. When going through a divorce specifically, it can be difficult to escape the use of your social media life in the evidence for a case. From your assets to your fidelity, the content of you and your spouse’s social networking profiles threatens to either hurt or help your case.
Every day, we use social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and more to post about our daily life, and we do not always realize the substance or implications of what we post. To help you understand what information you may want to be aware of on your own social media profiles before a divorce case, this article will help inform you about the various effects social media can have on your divorce case.
Hints About Secret Assets, or Other Secret Lifestyle Choices
If you’re married, chances are that you and your spouse most likely share many mutual connections on your social media profiles. After a divorce begins to occur, many of these friends will begin choosing a side. A former friend may begin providing information about hidden assets, new relationships, or other personal life choices that could come back to bite you, and/or vice versa. If you suspect someone who is sympathetic to your case may have information that will help you in your case, you should consider contacting them.
Dating sites are also often brought up when dealing with fidelity in divorce cases. As the divorce proceedings begin, those who know your spouse may be more willing to approach you about your spouse’s unknown dating profiles. You can use such information as evidence that a spouse has been, or intended to be unfaithful, which may help in cases in which there is a fidelity clause in a prenuptial agreement, when alimony is at stake, and/or there are children that may have been exposed to inappropriate relationships between the opposing spouse and third parties.
Using Email and Text Messages Sent Through Social Media
Private messages sent via social media applications and sites between a spouse and their new significant other may be useful during a divorce case for a myriad of reasons. Is he/she dissipating the marital assets by purchasing trips and jewelry for their new partner(s)? Is your significant other making violent threats towards you directly via this medium? Additionally, any information a spouse shares that controverts financial or personal information that they have shared with the courts, may end up helping you gain a more appropriate distribution in regards to the splitting of the marital assets, or in gaining a parental responsibility plan that is more in line with the circumstances that your children are in.
Be Aware of Your Own Profile
Your own social media profiles may be just as relevant and important to your case as your spouses. In order to ensure you do not allow seemingly innocent information to be used against you, you need to be aware of who has access to your profile, and if any information you have ever posted could be used against you. However, if you are aware that you will be filing for divorce, you should under no circumstances attempt to spoliate evidence, or in other words, delete your previous posts in the anticipation of trial or litigation. However, you can de-friend and it is frequently recommended to de-activate your profile. Please remember that deactivating is different that deleting the accounts.
Avoid Poor Posting Practices
Simply avoiding inflammatory, incriminating, or questionable social media posts is the right choice. Poor parental decisions or risky personal behavior shared on these platforms can and will be used against you when it comes to the custody of your children in particular. Always be intelligent about the content you post online, and you will be able to rest easy about the effect your social media profiles will have on your divorce case. This will allow you to focus your efforts on gaining valuable evidence from your spouse’s social media profiles instead.
Consult an Attorney
As always, you should always consult a knowledgeable and trusted family law attorney. If you have more questions about these topics.