Divorce proceedings can cause a range of emotions including anger, sorrow, fear and even betrayal. How you deal with those emotions can have a direct impact on your case. Facebook, Twitter and other online properties can be extremely harmful to you and the case your attorney is trying to build. Let’s review a few tips about using social media during your divorce.
Generally speaking, nothing you post on social media should be considered “private.” You need to understand this and realize what you post can be used against you. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want a judge and the other divorce lawyer to see. Trust me, they will find it.
For example, suppose you’re attorney is arguing that child support should be set at a lower amount due to your financial constraints. Pictures of you in your new car, boat, on vacation or commenting about your season tickets won’t support your family law attorney’s position. Worse yet, the judge may assume you haven’t been completely honest with other information.
Avoid “talking trash” about your soon-to-be ex-wife or husband. Comments can be taken out of context. Threatening language could also serve as evidence leading to a domestic violence charge, emergency protective order, and even possible loss of visitation and/or child custody. You don’t want to have to defend yourself in criminal court during a divorce proceeding.
Your Facebook “friends” might not actually be your friends. The sad reality is that your friends are going to pick a side. While you might decide to block your spouse from seeing your posts, others might continue to provide information to the other side by monitoring your ongoing posts. Again, trash talk and other statements are something to avoid. There’s a lot on the line. Don’t make it easier for the other side by giving them information to be used against you.
Avoid posting pictures and comments about a new girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s difficult for your divorce lawyer to paint a picture of you, the loving and faithful spouse, when you appear to have already moved on. This also raises the question of possible infidelity on your part. Most importantly, remember that your children may see this information. People can easily perform screen captures to later be used against you either in court, or with your children.
If you do continue to post pictures and comments, be aware of your surroundings. Heated child custody hearings can easily spin out of control if your divorce attorney is suddenly on the defensive because the other side presents multiple photos of you in bars, around your children when alcohol is present, or even comments about your “crazy weekend.” Remember, even seemingly innocent situations can be taken completely out of context when presented to the judge.
Your spouse’s divorce lawyer can find any social media page or online profile. Be especially aware of this if you’re considering setting up a profile on a dating site such as Match.com. The information the public sees is fair game, even if you think it shouldn’t be. A smart family law attorney will do a thorough review of online information about you. With the right resources and a little time, he/she can find all sorts of things you thought were hidden, forgot about, or even tried to delete.
That brings us to an important point. Deleting information from your social media accounts may be illegal. You could be accused of actively destroying evidence. It’s extremely important that you speak open and honestly with your divorce attorney before you change your Facebook page or other social media properties.
Finally, don’t attempt to spy on your wife or husband. Don’t attempt to sign onto social media accounts using her/his login credentials. Again, you could be opening yourself up to additional legal issues. At a minimum, the judge’s opinion of you can be impacted by your attempts to play dirty. Divorce is a complicated, stressful and emotional process. Listen to your attorney’s advice and remember that anything you post, like, follow or comment about is fair game for the other side. Your case can be significantly harmed by how you’re using social media during your divorce.
If you’re thinking about filing for a divorce in Louisville, KY (or in the surrounding counties), there are many issues to consider. Contact family law attorney, Dennis Burke, for advice based on years of courtroom experience. He’ll speak with you about how the process works, things you need to know, and help you prepare for divorce litigation. Call (502) 262-4984 to schedule your appointment.