Since Facebook debuted in 2004, social media use has skyrocketed. People ranging in age from grade-school children to senior citizens are posting, tweeting, and uploading personal information and photos to social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. What you may not realize, as you are snapping a cute picture of your kid or hashtagging your dinner, is that social media is not always as harmless as it seems. This holds especially true for couples going through divorce who realize that what they post online can actually be used as evidence against them in court.
Your social media accounts often depict a pretty accurate view of your life, so if you try to tell a story different from the one you posted online, you have a good chance of getting caught. For example, a spouse requesting alimony because she claims to be financially dependent upon her spouse may find her request denied because some Facebook posts about her job have made their way into the hands of the court, courtesy of her spouse’s attorney. Or maybe a spouse who swears that he can not afford to pay child support payments is rebuffed because he plastered pictures of his new sports car on his Instagram account.
Because the Internet is forever, deleting portions of your accounts does not mean you have wiped the slate clean. An attorney can make a few discovery requests that will net any relevant, admissible information needed to make a case. If you are going through a divorce, it is best to keep a few important words of caution in mind:
Do Not Post Anything Incriminating
Even the most harmless “girl’s night out” post can come back to haunt you. Maybe your spouse will attempt to use it to prove you are busy drinking when you should be watching the kids, or you are an unfit parent because you are never home. Think twice before you put these kinds of pictures up, and make sure your friends do not tag you in any photos that might hurt your case.
Do Not Talk Trash
Going through a divorce can be extremely stressful, and couples under intense emotional pressure can easily lose their cool. As much as you may want to tell the world how awful your ex is, or call him or her out for distasteful behavior, you will do better to take the high road. That way, your children will not be subjected to any mean-spirited online diatribes and your reputation will remain untarnished. If you need to vent, call a friend or start a journal (you know, the old-fashioned kind made of paper.)
Honesty really is the best policy, so you should be as upfront about everything as possible. Disclose finances, jobs, and all other assets to your attorney. If you put everything on the table, there will not be anything on social media that can trip you up. Providing all your information also helps you case go smoothly and quickly, allowing you a chance to start your new life as soon as possible.
At Vayman & Teitelbaum, P.C., in Georgia, we know how difficult divorce can be, especially when negative comments and judgments infiltrate the social media scene, as well as your personal life. We have years of experience helping couples navigate the tricky path of divorce, and you can trust us to handle your case with an efficient and level-headed attitude. Please contact us today with your divorce questions.