Social Media Evidence and Your Divorce Case
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms are now part of the fabric of daily life in the United States. They have literally changed the way that our society shops, interacts, connects, dates, communicates and even divorces. If you are in the process of going through or considering a divorce, what you place on social media prior to and during your divorce may greatly impact your case.Social Media Truth
While many people today use social media platforms to show a highlight reel of their life and only post things about how wonderful their life appears, the fact is that oftentimes the truth on social media contradicts that in the courtroom. If a spouse posts or places photographs on social media, they can be discovered by the other side in a divorce and used against them.
For example, a person claiming they are permanently disabled in an attempt to avoid working and paying child support could be found posting pictures running a marathon. In other cases, spouses post inappropriate material on social media which could affect the time they are allowed to spend with their child in child custody arrangements. This is especially true if the inappropriate posts occur during the time period in which the parent is supposed to be taking care of the minor child. In other cases, spouses intentionally hide assets during the legally required financial disclosures of a divorce, while their social media posts depict lavish trips, shopping sprees, or new cars.Social Media Best Practices
There are several steps you can take to ensure that your social media posts are never used against you in your divorce proceeding. The following is a list of best practices regarding a spouse’s use of social media during a divorce.
- Stop All Social Media Use. The very best practice that you can employ during a divorce proceeding is to completely cease activity on any and all social media platforms. Absolutely nothing can be used against you, manipulated, or construed negatively if it does not exist. In today’s world, refraining from posting on social media during a divorce may be a difficult challenge. However, knowing that every post and photograph could be potentially used against you in a court proceeding is a reason to try to completely avoid social media during this time.
- Limit Social Media Use. If you are unable to completely stop all social media use, then refrain from posting as much as possible. Request that your friends not tag you or include you in any posts. Only post neutral items and attempt to post as infrequently as possible.
- Change Your Privacy Settings. Make sure to go into all of your social media accounts and change all of your privacy settings. Change your passwords, as well, as your spouse may know your passwords and improperly use them. Additionally, make sure that you keep any passwords in a protected place where your spouse can not find them. Make sure that the public can not see your social media pages. It is important to note that even if you set all of your social media accounts to “private,” they are still discoverable in a divorce proceeding. Additionally, your family or your friends may leak information that you post to your spouse to be used against you. Again, the best practice is to simply avoid posting as much as possible.
- Block Your Spouse. Take a moment to block your spouse as a follower or a friend on all of your social media platforms. At the same time, think of what mutual friends may give information regarding your social media account to your spouse and block them, as well. This may seem like an extreme measure, but again, if you plan to use these platforms, just know that all of the information typically finds a way to court.
- Never Delete Anything. You may make an error in judgment and post something (either a comment or a photograph) that you regret. Never delete anything from your social media accounts. Anything you delete from your social media accounts could be considered damaging evidence in your divorce, even if it was an innocent deletion. Therefore, if you destroy any of this evidence, you could be charged with obstruction of justice, or suffer other penalties in your case.
We can help you understand your legal rights and ensure your legal rights are protected in your divorce in the greater Charlotte area of North Carolina. Contact an experienced divorce attorney at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at 704.370.2828 or online today to schedule your consultation.