In just the past ten years, social media has drastically changed the way we interact with one another. Social media can make people feel connected and validated, but it can also make people hurt and insulted. Posts, shares, and likes may seem fleeting in the moment, but all of these interactions can have long-lasting effects, especially when it comes to divorce cases.
What kind of evidence can be gleaned from a person’s Facebook profile or Instagram post? These things can be used to show a person’s state of mind, evidence of time and place, proof of spending, evidence of actions or interactions with certain people, and comments and messages can even act as documented communications that can be used in court. With Snapchat Maps, Apple’s Find My Friends, and geotags used by most platforms, a person’s active location can be easily tracked. With timestamped stories, even if the viewers are limited (as is the case in Instagram’s “Close Friends” feature), these interactions on social media can be used in a custody battle, or even in conflicts of alimony to show how you market yourself to potential employers. More often now, parties to a divorce are barred from deleting or editing their social media posts.
If you are involved in a divorce or custody case, it is beneficial to thoroughly edit your social media as early on in the case as possible and change the information you share on social media. Blocking or muting certain accounts will not stop your posted content from being used in court. While it might seem like a “low-blow”, an opponent will likely use any social media that you’ve posted against you if possible.
Here are some helpful tips on social media usage during a divorce: do not discuss anything about your spouse or divorce on social media while the case is going on; do not post any photos or stories that would depict you spending a lot of money, partying, or engaging in illicit activity; refrain from posting photos of yourself consuming alcohol while you are using timesharing. Before posting, ask yourself if you would want a judge or your spouse’s attorney seeing the post. If the answer is no, then definitely do not post it.
Social media, although it has become engrained in the daily life of most American people, is still fairly new in the world of family law, and it is not completely clear the extent of what could be used against you. The safest route would be to take a break from social media until the divorce is final.
Kendrick Law Group understand how difficult it is to navigate your daily activities like social media around a divorce or custody battle. Our attorneys are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to guide you through that stressful process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Carina M. Leeson, Esq., Family Law and Collaborative Attorney
Co-written by: Layne Cohen, Law Clerk