By: Amanda Vann, Esq.
The surge in use of social media by spouses—which has often times become an addicting habit—has had an impact on divorce and custody cases. Social media evidence from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs, is increasingly used against parties in divorce and custody cases because one of the most important aspects of a divorce or custody case is each party’s respective lifestyle.
Guidelines for Social Media Use
You should always think twice before posting any personal information online especially if you are in the middle of divorce or custody case, as your social media accounts can be used as evidence against you. Don’t assume that just because you deleted a post or material that you believe may be harmful to your case that material won’t be retrieved. It is more than probable that someone has taken a screen shot of your post for safe keeping. There is a newer trend whereby people tend to post the most personal information on social media creating a new era where it has become incredibly easier for a spouse or their counsel to gather information about you and use it against you.
If you post on Facebook that you just bought tickets to a concert, a present or a new “toy” for yourself and yet you have stated in your divorce or custody case that you can’t afford to pay for certain expenses or need a reduction in the amount of support you are paying, your Facebook post can be used to show a court that you are able to pay for certain expenses. If you allege in your divorce case that you don’t have the requisite work skills to obtain proper employment and need support, yet your LinkedIn account states you have ample skills and are looking for jobs, this information may be used against you.
Social Media Steps for Individuals During a Divorce
There are some very simple steps you can follow to avoid making your case more difficult for yourself or handing over evidence and information that will be used against you.
1. Consider the legal ramification of anything you post on the internet. It probably isn’t going to go unnoticed if you are still married and you change your Facebook status to read “Engaged”.
2. Refrain from posting anything about your spouse, their lawyer, the judge, or anything that has to do with your case. Being reckless in your social media posts and airing your personal feelings will only come back to haunt you in the long run.
3. Stop and think before you post any information that demonstrates your lifestyle. Social media is not the place to air your laundry about your money and financial situation, any new purchases you have or are planning to make, or whom you are keeping company with, especially if you are involved in a family law matter. There is a time and place to share those details with friends and it isn’t on social media.
4. Make an informed decision about who your “friends” and “followers” are and consider removing anyone that will share your information with your spouse. Remember that any information you share online can create a potential witness with personal knowledge who can be subpoenaed to testify in your matter.
5. Change your privacy settings and ensure your settings are set to limit who has access to what information on your page. You must also ensure that you continue to sporadically monitor your settings as privacy and security settings are constantly changing on social media and you need to ensure you keep up with those changes.
6. Never ever share communications and or discussions you have had with your attorney online or with anyone, as you are waiving the attorney-client privilege by sharing any of this information.
Keeping these tips in mind when using social media during your divorce or custody case can assist you in not handing over evidence that can be used against you. For further advice, visit our family and divorce law FAQ.
Divorce & Family Law Attorneys in the Silver Spring Area
Going through a divorce is never easy, but neither is holding together a marriage that is clearly falling apart. Whether the decision to pursue divorce is reached as a result of irreconcilable differences, adultery, mental illness, domestic violence, or even conflicts over how children should be raised, divorce is sometimes the only path to a better life.
You can contact an Andalman & Flynn attorney for representation at 301-563-6685 or by filling out our contact form.
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