Social media is still relatively new, and its effect on divorces even more so. As with all emerging technology, the way social media will be used in court can (and will) significantly impact how cases are handled, and it’s important to understand how social media can hurt you in a divorce. Unsurprisingly, the use of social media in divorce cases continues to rise, and with it, a new understanding on how to protect yourself.
Remember: the opposing attorney will look at your social media
Facebook is the most used social media channel, with over 2 billion users worldwide, and it is the go-to channel when looking for information on a spouse.
Pictures, status updates, and private messages are the easiest items to use in a divorce case. Pictures and locations can reveal infidelity, the breaking of custody agreements, and also reflect your state of mind before, during, or after a separation. Photos you are tagged in that are posted by friends can also be found easily, so managing your own profile isn’t enough.
Social media behaviors such as tweets, “likes,” and “pokes” could signify harassment or violations of a restraining order. If you have a profile on a dating site, it can prove infidelity, or the intent to commit adultery. Even message boards you take part in can be discovered and brought up in court.
Take action: here’s how to protect yourself
When you make a spelling or factual error in a post, your first instinct is to delete it. That is certainly acceptable, but not during a divorce. If you are expecting a divorce, or currently going through one, deleting old posts may be unlawful, and tantamount to destruction of evidence. Deleting posts and images, changing your privacy settings, or deactivating your account all fall under this umbrella. If there is content you are concerned about, your best move is not to post it publicly.
Avoid adding to the tension surrounding your separation by not discussing it publicly, and always avoid insulting or attacking your spouse. Any negativity will certainly be brought up during the proceedings and will have the potential to dredge up negativity among family members. If you have children, remember that they may also be watching what you post, and your actions could negatively affect any custody battles.
It’s important to remember that, while social media is the modern day diary, anything you post publicly removes any expectation of privacy. Your words and actions are being recorded, and they can be brought up in any number of legal situations. Remember to be careful with how you present yourself online.
If you are facing a divorce in Georgia, we can help. The attorneys at Andersen, Tate and Carr have helped countless individuals through this difficult process. We are committed to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome, especially when there are children involved. Contact Trinity Hundredmark or Patrick McDonough for a private case evaluation.