It should come as no surprise that, given how much of our lives now takes place on social media, that those activities would impact the outcome of a divorce. It may surprise people to learn how that social media activity ends up hurting an individual’s case.
Facebook tends to be the hotbed of material for divorce attorneys. People tend to portray a certain lifestyle on Facebook – to brag of having a really good time or a really good life. The desire to do a brag post ends up as wonderful fodder for cross-examination in a divorce case. For example, when a party claims a lack of financial resources to pay a certain level of child support or maintenance by fudging income, that party will have to explain how that can be when Facebook posts show that party on the beach in Hawaii or at a concert out of town. These posts also have tracking data in terms of when they were posted and often from where – so if a party told the other party of an inability to take the children or attend a child’s activity because of illness but was actually posting a pic of fun times somewhere else, that evidence could be used against the lying party with regard to custody.
How does a spouse see these posts? Aren’t they private?
It depends. Sometimes, people leave their posts completely open to the public (not a smart move). But even when the posts have been limited to friends only, spouses share family and friends and it can be very easy for the other spouse to read these posts. Further, a discovery request to see the posts through Facebook would allow access (and any deletion of posts would constitute destruction of evidence – a no-no).
Posting on social media beyond Facebook can be problematic as well. Comments on Twitter can be used to show a state of mind or bias that could affect custody or property distribution. The list of potential sins is long.
The moral of the story? Stay off social media during a divorce. If you feel compelled to be active, do not say or post anything that you know would put you in a negative light or could be used against you in some way.
What happened in private used to stay very private. No longer today – it is far too easy to have your private life exposed. Go online with caution.
If you have questions about social media and divorce, contact us – we can help.