If you are anything like the more than 226 million adults in American who use social media, chances are that if you are thinking about divorce, the fact that you are a member of sites like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook may be far from your mind. Indeed, social media use is ubiquitous in 2019, and sharing details of one’s personal life online is commonplace.
But before you feel comfortable posting about your marriage or your divorce online, you should think about the impact that social media activity can have your divorce case, and the fact that anything that you do online is a type of digital evidence that can be used against you. Here is what you should know about social media and divorce.
Social Media Activity Is Evidence
The first thing that you should know is that social media activity is public, and therefore there should be no assumption of privacy. Your social media activity can be used against you as evidence in your divorce case. Types of social media activity that may be collected include:
- Statements and updates
- Status location check-ins
- Photographs and videos
- Being “tagged” in others’ posts
- Comments and messages
While messages that are not displayed publicly are more private, they are often still accessed in a divorce case. Sometimes, messages can be accessed via a subpoena, or because the other party involved in the messaging submits the messages of their own free will.
So Why Does It Matter?
You may be fully aware of the fact that social media evidence can be collected and used against you, yet may ask, “Who cares?” “I have nothing to hide.” While this may be the case, best practices hold that refraining from, or limiting, social media use during a divorce is advised. Indeed, something posted online could affect various elements of your divorce settlement, including your:
- Property division settlement. Consider a situation where you post something online about an expensive purchase you’ve made, or luxurious vacation you’ve recently taken. This may raise questions about hidden assets, or even an affair in the event that photos show you accompanied by another person. Evidence may be also used to make an argument about the wasteful spending of marital resources.
- Child custody. Courts consider the fitness and ability of each of a child’s parent to raise the child when making a child custody or parental allocation decision. If you have any photos or messages online that show that you have behaved in a less-than-scrupulous manner, this could negatively affect the court’s opinion of you.
Social media activity could also offer proof of other things that could hurt your divorce, such as failing to live separate and apart from your spouse (a breach of the separation requirements for a no-fault divorce), adulterous behavior, or even illegal behavior.
Hold Off Until the Divorce Is Finalized
While using social media may be part of your daily routine, and something that is challenging to give up as such, holding off on posting anything until your divorce is finalized is a wise idea. Further, block friend request access from people you don’t know, and set your profile to private.
To learn more about social media and divorce or to start building your divorce case with the help of a qualified lawyer, reach out to the Naperville family law and divorce attorneys at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. today.