A Look at How Social Media Can Impact a Divorce Case
Recent research shows that nearly two-thirds of American adults currently use social networking sites. Social media is all around us, and we can sometimes take its influence and reach for granted. Over the course of just one day, many American make numerous social media related posts and comments.
This doesn’t change when you get divorced, and in fact, it could even increase as you vent your frustrations to the world. But before you post that photo of you with your new boyfriend or girlfriend, you should recognize there are ramifications for not being careful with social media when you’re in the midst of a legal battle, and the consequences can be severe.
Pictures Can Be Used Against You
As tempting as it may be to show off your new car or share pictures from your trip to Hawaii on Facebook, be care what you share if you’re in the middle of a divorce proceeding. These pictures can be used as evidence to show that you need to contribute more money to the marital estate. After all, based on the pictures, it sure looks as though you’ve got cash to burn.
What can be Used as Evidence
In short, anything can be used a evidence. Just because you sent a text doesn’t make it any less legitimate in a court of law. And once you start the legal process, you are under obligation not to delete anything that may end up being important to the case, whether it goes against you or not. So that tweet about how you’d like to run over your ex with a bus? That’s admissible. The photo your best friend tagged you in that shows you getting drunk at a bachelorette party? That could keep you from getting custody of your children.
Evidence can be found and used in court from social media accounts far beyond just Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn profiles can even be used as evidence against you. Austin divorce attorney Ben Carrasco once used a Linkedin profile to prove the existence of a side business that a party did not disclose in discovery. This was an additional source of income that was factored into the divorce agreement for his client.
Knowing all of this, how can you protect yourself from the potential problems with social media? Simple—don’t use it. Lawyers advise that as soon as you even think about getting divorced, you stop using all social media and close your accounts. Beyond that, be sure to change your passwords and stop sharing computers, since your soon-to-be ex could still be logging on to your accounts. You need to start fresh in your life, and that includes deleting all of your Internet hotspots.
Think Before You Post
Social media can be damaging because it makes us feel safe and anonymous, when in reality, its imprint far outlasts our emotions. When you feel like shooting out a nasty text, take a step back and write a calm email instead. Don’t vent with a Facebook status update. Instead, wind down with a friend and a drink. When we take the time to decompress, we can often save ourselves a lot of trouble down the road.
What if you’ve already done some damage with Facebook, Instagram, or other social media accounts? Sit back and let time pass while you build up your life in other ways. Often, if there is only a single transgression during the divorce proceedings, and it took place from 6-12 months in the past, you may be let off the hook.
Divorce is messy enough without the added drama of social media, so be smart and careful about what you post!