Today, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and Instagram, etc., are commonly used as a way for people to share ideas, pictures, news, and information. But did you know that pictures and comments that are posted on social media can be used as evidence in a divorce case to question a spouse’s credibility? If you are concerned about how your social media usage may affect your divorce case, you should consult with an experienced divorce attorney.
The Impact of Social Media on a Divorce
Let’s face it: nothing you post online is completely private, regardless of the privacy settings that may be in place. In fact, in a divorce, as in other legal proceedings, social media posts, emails, and records of text messages can always be subpoenaed. Moreover, posts that are reckless or careless can become evidence that results in an unfavorable court ruling. This is a particular concern regarding child custody, visitation and child support matters.
Let’s say a parent claims not to have enough income to pay a child support order. Then, he or she posts pictures of an expensive purchase or an exotic vacation. This could lead to a court ruling enforcing a child support order, possibly resulting in a wage garnishment, liens or other penalties. At the same time, Facebook posts that show a parent behaving improperly around children could result in an unfavorable child custody ruling. The bottom line is this: social media posts are admissible evidence that the court may consider in its decisions.
It goes without saying that it is important to proceed with caution when using social media when you are going through a marital breakup. When someone gets arrested, the police are required to recite the Miranda Warnings — you have the right to remain silent, and anything you can used against you in court. The same rule holds true for social media: never post or say anything that demonstrates illegal or improper behavior which may be used against you in a divorce proceeding.
Because divorce is a divorce is a highly sensitive and deeply personal experience, both parties should work to protect their privacy. Therefore, you should never post uncompromising photos, details about a divorce case, or derogatory comments about a spouse — or a judge, on social media. Certainly, posts can be deleted, and accounts can be deactivated, but your digital footprint lives on in the cloud, and can always be discovered. In the end, if you are going through a divorce, use discretion on social media, and speak to an attorney. Blair H. Chan, III PLLC is a well-respected divorce attorney serving clients in the Tampa Bay area.