If you’re like most people these days, you’re constantly connected to some form of social media. Social media is part of your daily life. You use social media to get helpful advice on where to shop for the best deals and how to fix that weird sound coming from the pipes in your house.
But if you’re going through a divorce, put down your phone. Step away from the social media, and log out of your accounts. Anything you post on social media can affect decisions regarding the child custody, child support, and alimony in your divorce case.
Social media is a bragging hub. People use it to show off their new cars, fancy vacations, and new bling they receive from a significant other. Typically, if you post something of this nature, it won’t have any long lasting effect on you (aside from making your friends either jealous or annoyed).
However, when you’re going through a divorce, your spouse’s lawyers can comb through your social media posts to determine if you are being truthful in your financial claims. Posts that prove expensive purchases when a lower income is claimed can be used against you, and can affect decisions regarding child support and alimony.
Because social media is such a part of our lives, you may not even realize the information you’ve revealed that can be used against you. Ben Carrasco, a divorce attorney in Austin, TX, helped a client by using a LinkedIn profile to show the existence of a side business (another source of income) that a party did not disclose in discovery.
Email and Text Messages
Emails and text messages can be used in court. If you mention anything that goes against your claims in court, the email or text message can negatively impact your results in the divorce case. Best practices in a divorce case are to avoid writing anything that has sensitive information. Ask yourself: “Would I want my spouse’s lawyer to read this? Would I want a judge to read this?”
Stay away from dating sites while your divorce is underway. It’s just bad form. Creating a profile on a dating site before your divorce is finalized calls your character into question. It leads all involved to wonder if you were faithful during the marriage and paints you in a bad light during the divorce. In addition, using an online dating site only opens you up to more opportunities to say something incriminating online.
Social media can impact decisions in child custody when people make public mistakes. For example, if images online show a person engaging in risky behavior or use of substances while children are supposed to be in that parent’s care, that person may be deemed unfit to properly care for the children.
Negative Effects Are Preventable
Even if you run a squeaky-clean life, your social media posts can be manipulated in a way that negatively impacts the results of your divorce case. If you are divorcing, stop using social media completely. Do not, however, delete your accounts as this is actually considered destruction of evidence.
Remember, your spouse and spouse’s lawyer will be looking at your online life, and they may bring it to the attention of the judge, so keep yourself protected by staying away from social media entirely.