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What Are the Benefits and Risks of Utilizing Social Media During a Divorce?

What Are the Benefits and Risks of Utilizing Social Media During a Divorce?

  • February 10th, 2023
  • Cheryl McGirr
  • Comments Off on What Are the Benefits and Risks of Utilizing Social Media During a Divorce?

Social media has drastically changed the landscape of divorce proceedings…

It can now be used as evidence of a partner’s cheating, bad behavior, or hidden assets – all of which, of course, can lead to divorce. During the divorce process, it’s important to be mindful of how you, and your spouse, use social media. Even check-ins and tagged photographs provide details about your location and the people you are with.

As you approach the days or weeks leading up to your divorce, it is likely that the situation between you and your soon-to-be ex will become increasingly tense. When the decision to divorce has been made, it is wise to inform your family and friends of the situation. It is important to let them know that they should not post any negative comments about your spouse on social media. If the divorce is not amicable, you may even want to consider removing your spouse from your social media profiles and making them private. It is also a good idea to double-check your friends list for any potential informants who may be keeping tabs on your activities.

Deleting Past Posts

When a divorce has been initiated, it is important to be aware that even evidence that is deleted from social media accounts can be used against you in a court of law. Spoliation of evidence is an offense in the state of Texas that pertains to the destruction of evidence. If any content on social media is relevant to the divorce, deleting it can result in the opposing party putting forth a request for sanctions. Therefore, it is always recommended to speak with a family law attorney prior to deleting any posts from social media; this is due to the fact that social media can have a major effect on a divorce case.

Speaking Negatively About a Spouse

Despite any anger or hurt that you may be feeling, try to avoid making any negative posts about your partner online. If you’re considering voicing your grievances about your spouse on social media, it’s best to reconsider this. Posting anything negative about them on any platform can be used against you during a divorce trial. Any angry outbursts, hateful messages, and posts, or worse still, posts that your children can see, will not be viewed favorably by the judge. Instead of airing your dirty laundry on social media, make a list of your spouse’s behavior that troubles you during the divorce and write a calendar of the events related to it. These notes will help your attorney understand how your spouse’s behavior affects the legal aspects of your case and work on a strategy to address it. This will help ensure that you don’t do anything to harm your case and give you a productive way to channel your frustrations. 

What You Post CAN Be Used Against You in a Court of Law

When it comes to court proceedings, it is important to remember that your words and statements can be used as evidence against you in a court of law. This is true not just in criminal proceedings, but also in divorce proceedings. In fact, evidence derived from social media posts, such as written statements and images, is increasingly being utilized in divorce cases across the United States. Even if you have strict privacy settings on your social media accounts, they are not impenetrable, and opposing counsel will research your social media activity. Additionally, refrain from posting photos of yourself partaking in activities such as dating, drug use or drinking alcohol, or being with people you do not know well. To protect yourself, many divorce lawyers suggest limiting time on social media, or avoiding it altogether, while divorce proceedings are pending. Your attorney can help you best decide if that is the right course of action for you.

Think You Can Trust Your “Friends” – Think Again

A close friend reminded me recently that even your private messages are not private. They may be personal, but anyone you chat with can share those messages if incentivized in the right way. How can you be sure they don’t secretly favor your ex? How did you meet that friend? Were you introduced to them by your soon-to-be ex?

The term “friend” has drastically changed since the advent of social media platforms such as Facebook (Now in its 20th year!). Initially, the term may have been accurate when its platform was restricted to a single university. However, Facebook’s global reach has now caused “friends” to be seen as people who are not necessarily genuine or reliable. Divorce proceedings are no exception to this; you cannot rely on “friends” from social media sites to have your back – be wary of any information or images you post as they may be seen by your spouse or used against you in some way.

Do An Online Audit

It is best to stay away from posting on social media while you are going through a divorce. There is no telling how your posts could be used against you, so it is best to remain silent on your social platforms instead of taking a chance. Ask your friends not to tag you in any compromising photos or post about your spouse or divorce. If you have not already done so, this is also a great time to change your passwords so that no one can try to get into your accounts to get information. Be conscious of how your cellphone, tablet, and computer may sync with your partners. Make sure to turn off all sync options on all of your devices, including any cloud storage accounts that are shared. This will stop photos, emails, messages, and other personal details from being seen by your partner – and their lawyer.

Best to Keep Things Quiet

Getting a divorce can be emotional and challenging. Do everything you can to avoid adding more difficulties to your situation. When it comes to broadcasting a pending divorce on social media, there are certain risks associated with it. For example, you may become a target for scammers who are lurking in the dark corners of social media, hoping to take advantage of individuals perceived as being vulnerable. It is important to discuss this issue with your divorce lawyer during your first appointment. Your lawyer will provide guidance and advice on what is and is not acceptable to post on social media during a divorce. 

Although social media can be entertaining and a great way to connect with others, having less social media activity is beneficial during a divorce. It is important to be open and honest with your attorney about any content that could be used against you. With full disclosure of all evidence, your attorney can better prepare you for any challenges that might arise. With the right information and planning, you can effectively protect yourself and your rights in a legal dispute. 

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