Social media is a powerful force that can do good–or wreak havoc–in the lives of its users. In divorce proceedings, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social medial platforms have gained increased influence in recent years. A single ill-advised post can cost a divorce litigant thousands of dollars–or even custody rights.
Common Social Media Mistakes In Divorce
A vacation photo. A picture of a new boat. A video of a hunting trip. While such social media posts may seem harmless, they can prove devastating in divorce proceedings. This is especially true if the posts tell a different story than a divorcing party wants the court to hear.
Careless social medial posts can give away a number of hidden truths, including:
- Clues about hidden assets: If a divorcing spouse claims to have little income (not enough to pay spousal support, for instance) a picture of a new purchase or expensive vacation can cast serious doubt on that claim.
- Information about health: Is a divorcing spouse too ill to work? Is a medical problem keeping him or her from taking on co-parenting duties? A YouTube video of that person taking part in an athletic event or other strenuous activity tells a different story.
- Evidence of careless behavior: It is unwise for anyone to post pictures or other accounts of partying, drinking, drug use and similar behavior in a public, permanent format. For a person engaged in a divorce or custody dispute, however, such divulgences can prove devastating, costing money and even jeopardizing parental rights.
Even if you “unfriend” your spouse, you likely still have dozens of mutual friends on Facebook and other social media websites. These friends may remain neutral–or they may choose sides. Always remember: You never know who is watching and keeping a record of your posts.
Social media evidence is generally admissible in court. If there is such evidence in your divorce case, we hope it helps you. Of course, you want to make sure you don’t post anything that could hurt your legal prospects. “When in doubt, don’t post,” is a good rule of thumb. Talk to an attorney if you have any questions about how social media can affect your case. A skilled divorce lawyer knows how to use social media evidence to advance his or her clients’ interests, not hurt them.