Each of us has a personal social media account that we share with our friends on the Internet. We all have that one friend on social media that shares way too much personal information on the Internet. Through their posts you are able to see everything that goes on in their life without even asking them a question.
Quite often, you are left scratching your head wondering why that person would post what they posted on the social media site. The popularity of social media allows a divorce lawyer Arlington TX trusts in a divorce case to gather information needed to help their client. Anything that is posted on social media can probably be used against or for that person in court. Below are the top three things that get people into trouble during a divorce case:
There is a saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Pictures used as evidence in a divorce can either make or break a divorce case. As a Family Law attorney, one of the worst things that can happen during a divorce is to have unknown pictures show up in court. Pictures posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are all susceptible to being used as evidence.
For example, Spouse A claims they do not have any available income to pay child support or spousal maintenance to Spouse B. Spouse B produces pictures from social media showing Spouse A flashing large amounts of cash, purchasing expensive clothing, cars and jewelry. These pictures will show the court that Spouse A is more than capable of paying child support and/or spousal maintenance. In a divorce case, one must take care not to post pictures that can be viewed in a negative light.
Status posts tend to be more prevalent on Facebook. Divorce itself is an emotional time for many people. All too often people “vent” about their frustrations on Facebook through a status post unaware that their own words can be used against them.
A good Family Law attorney can use the exact words you posted as evidence against you. Posts referring to the use of illegal drugs can be used as evidence to allow the court to order a drug test based on that post. One should only post positive, truthful thoughts or refrain from posting at all during a divorce.
Email and text messages
Email and text messages are often overlooked when it comes to social media. However, one must realize that email and text messages are not safe from being introduced into evidence during a divorce case. A simple screenshot of a text message or email can be distributed on Facebook with a simple click of the button. Email and text messages should be treated in the same light as status posts.
During a divorce we recommend that you do the following when it comes to your social media accounts:
1. Do not share anything that you do not want a judge to see or read. If you post it, there is a high probability that you will see your post in court.
2. Do not assume your social media is private. Whatever you do online can be found if someone is persistent enough to search.
3. Turn off the location. Facebook has the feature of allowing a person to show the location of a post. If all of your posts are from the bar down the street, that information can be used against you.
4. Do not share pictures of your newfound flame. As tempting as it may be to share a picture of your newfound love…don’t do it. Remember, until you have a divorce decree in hand, you are still married and until you are officially divorced your newfound flame can be used against you in court.
5. Do not talk about your spouse or your children in your status posts. Seriously, keep your family out of your social media posts during a divorce.
6. Do not ask for advice over social media. Social media is not the place for therapy. Try consulting with an actual therapist if you need advice.
7. If you are unsure about posting something, then do not post it. Yes, this echoes number 1 but it must be said again. If that little voice in your head gives you pause before a post, then listen to that voice and refrain from posting.
8. Go offline. I recommend this move for all clients during a divorce. Going offline during a divorce is one of the smartest things to do in terms of handling emotions. So much of what is posted on social media is driven by emotion and once you take away social media it allows you to focus on the task ahead.
Social media and divorce can be a bad combination if used incorrectly. Many people fail to realize that “I didn’t know” is just as harmful as “I did know.”
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC for their insight into divorce practice.