The point of social media, whether it is used professionally or personally, is to connect with people and share ideas and information. It is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends, provides opportunities to expand a network of associations, gives access to a broader audience, and for many, it provides hours of entertainment. Despite the various benefits of social media, the use or misuse of these platforms can not only cause a marriage to end, but can significantly affect the divorce case.
One of the first places your future ex-partner and his or her divorce lawyer will look for incriminating evidence will be on your social media. Everything you say, do, post, tweet, text, or snap creates a footprint. Any of these could be used against you in divorce proceedings. As family law attorneys, Staack, Simms & Reighard, PLLC sees many examples of how social media indiscretions can negatively influence the emotional status of the parties to the divorce and directly impact the outcome of the final settlement.
Some Dos and Don’ts
You don’t have to remove your social media accounts completely, but take extra caution and be careful about how you use these platforms including photos, shares, and the comments you post. Just as a precaution, change your passwords, consider purging some of your connections, and make your settings private.
Do start to limit your use, take a step back from the frequency of your posting habits and perhaps from viewing other people’s posts, too. Divorce can be a very emotional and turbulent time and you might not be in the best mindset to view other postings of what appears to be “the perfect partner” or “perfect family.” Understand it is natural to compare your own circumstances to what others are doing, and that you don’t need additional distractions that will beat you up emotionally.
On the other hand, do use discretion when you are posting photos of your own nights out, extravagant meals, outings, a new car, or vacations. Remember your ex or soon-to-be-ex will probably see these, and depending on the emotional and financial situation in play, he or she could inflate the information and it against you. When children are involved, do be careful about how you present yourself. You could be perceived as an unfit parent by posting photos of partying, drinking, displaying inappropriate behavior, or keeping company with a mysterious person.
As far as some of the don’ts- first off, and of the utmost importance, don’t let your divorce “play out” on social media! The very last thing you want to do is speak ill of your ex or try to provoke them. Don’t post or share any negative comments or innuendoes. Even seemingly harmless statements, shares, or photos could cause you legal headaches later. Limit your “check-ins” and allowing people to “tag” you in their photos. That information can reveal a lot about what you are doing and who you are with. Even if what you are doing is totally benign, during this time in your life, keeping a more reserved, low profile is usually best.
If you do post photos with your children, don’t let the location or activity be a complete surprise to the child’s other parent. While a late-night backyard bash or a parasailing adventure might have seemed like a fabulous and spontaneous idea at the time, it might not come off that way if the child’s other parent is the last to know. You don’t want to let any public mis-steps jeopardize your rights to your children.
Talk to Us!
As divorce attorneys, we believe a discussion with our clients about social media use is vital. We never like to see that legal action was the result of something posted online. We’ve mentioned just a few of the things that are common issues you might be facing, but each divorce situation is different. Meet with us to discuss your divorce case and we will help you stay out of trouble caused by social media missteps, avoid incrimination, and protect the overall outcome of your case.
Get experienced, professional, dedicated representation for your divorce. Reach out today.
Staack, Simms & Reighard, PLLC 727-441-2635