Divorce and Social Media: Can social media activity used as evidence?
A couple going through a divorce may use Facebook and other social networking sites as a platform for airing grievances and other information pertaining to the divorce or slandering information about a soon-to-be ex. While it may be tempting to voice your feelings about your ex or specific information about your marital situation, it is important to consider how it may affect your pending divorce. Once you have shared personal information on social networking sites, such as Facebook, it’s hard to reverse any damage that may already be done. In some cases, the information you share, can be used as evidence in your divorce hearing.
According to The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81% of its members have used or faced evidence from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites. Social networking sites are often used to promote divorce-related hate and smear campaigns among battling spouses. While initially, it may seem like a good way to deal with the range of emotions that one may feel when facing divorce, it can ultimately end up being used as evidence in a court of law. Depending on your “angle”, the custody of your children and other assets you may be trying to gain may be at risk.
According to CharlesUllman.com, a Cary, NC family law firm, you should consider the following:
– Be Honest: Do not write anything on sites, like Facebook, that you wouldn’t admit to. Your lawyer, your ex, the judge are all privy to the information that you post.
– Don’t try to force friends to take sides: It may be tempting to reach out on Facebook and persuade mutual friends to take sides. Before or during a divorce is not the time, especially not in a public matter. Regardless of your emotions, beware of what you say and what you ask of friends. Public slander is hard to ignore or erase.
– Take pictures with caution: Questionable pictures can be used against you. Whether you are celebrating your divorce with a couple of friends or posing with your children and a new love interest, make those pictures private until your divorce is finalized. A seemingly innocent picture can be construed negatively, especially during your divorce hearing.
– Use Privacy settings: If you feel like you need to continue to share things on social networking sites, during your divorce proceeding, make sure that you have privacy settings enabled. Only allow the people you trust to see your posts, such as parents, siblings and best friends.
Be Careful with your Words
Divorce hearings can be difficult. By being a responsible and considerate social networking site user, the chance of evidence used against you is slim. Making careless and impulsive comments online can put you and your divorce case at great risk. While you may feel the need to find support among friends, contact them privately or in person. Activity on the internet is shared quickly and even if you never intended for your comments to get back to your soon-to-be ex, it may be used against you or as evidence.