Social Media and Your Divorce
On behalf of Powell Law Offices, P.C. on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.
Social media websites like Twitter and Facebook are woven deeply into many of our lives, it's easy to forget that the things we've posted could come back and negatively affect us later on. Many divorcing couples fail to realize just how much is at stake when they post online. We've compiled a list of social media guidelines to follow during your divorce.
- Check Your Privacy Settings: Many people don't realize they have the ability to alter their privacy settings on Facebook or Twitter. Twitter's privacy settings are not as in-depth as Facebook's; they give you the option to either protect or unprotect your tweets. If your tweets are unprotected, they're completely public and anyone is able to read them, if they are protected, only people you approve can see them. On Facebook, users have the ability to restrict access to specific photo albums, or even groups of people. If you're going through a divorce, you may want to filter through your friends list and create specific groups for people you want to restrict access to your profile.
While there isn't current legislation that determines how Facebook posts are handled as evidence in the court of law, previous cases have cited the Stored Communications Act as a reference for only allowing public posts be presented in court as evidence.
- Don't Trash Talk Your Ex-Spouse: No matter how frustrating your situation may be, do not post negative, libelous statements about your soon to be ex-spouse on Facebook. If you are in a particularly messy divorce situation and/or custody battle, the Facebook posts you post could be used against you in your case.
- Don't Trash Talk the Judge: Refrain from bad mouthing the judge's decisions on Facebook to your friends. It's understandable that you want the sympathy of your friends during this stressful time, however publicly insulting the person in charge of determining who has custody of your children is not the best course of action.
- Be Aware of What You Post: If you and your spouse are in custody battles, it's a sure bet their attorney will be searching for any source of information they can find that discredits you as a responsible parent. Abstain from sharing inappropriate or off-color jokes or photos, stop checking in to those stores, bars, and restaurants and under no circumstances post provocative photos of yourself.
Facebook posts can also be used as evidence of assets. If you've told the judge you're too broke to pay alimony, but you're posting recent photos of you and your friends on vacation or purchasing a new car, these photos could be used as evidence of your financial assets.
According to a recent study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81% of divorce attorneys use social media in their cases as evidence in the last 5 years. Further, 61% of the attorneys surveyed said Facebook alone was the primary source for divorce evidence in their cases. We recommend signing off Facebook and Twitter as much as possible during your divorce.
If you're thinking of getting a divorce, our Grapevine divorce attorneys are available to help you today. With over a decade of experience you can sure our attorneys will provide you with personalized legal solutions, and be accessible and attentive to your needs.