You might have seen the research showing a connection between divorce and social media use. According to researchers, the more frequently you are on Facebook, the higher risk of divorce you have. Practically everyone talks about limiting their time on social media to improve face-to-face relationships. However, what you may not know is that more lawyers are using evidence from Facebook and other social media sites during a divorce case to show that a parent is unfit, hiding money or being dishonest.
Be careful what you post during a divorce
- Emails and text messages are admissible in court. A lawyer can even subpoena these records. The rule of thumb is that if you do not want a judge reading your message, do not write it down, type it or send it.
- Posts on social media can be illustrative of having finances that you claim you do not. For example, if you post pictures of your expensive vacation or new car, your soon-to-be ex-spouse could use these posts as evidence to show you are not being honest with your financial situation. One attorney used a LinkedIn profile to show evidence of a side business.
- Pictures of parties and your behavior can be used to demonstrate "parental unfitness." Remember that posts are time-stamped and dated.
- Posts on social media of game use or Netflix binging could be used to demonstrate that a person is not actively searching for a job or taking care of the kids.
- Do not forget that what you post on dating sites might be used in your divorce case. It can be evidence of cheating, but more importantly, the way you present yourself on the site might be different than what you are saying in court, which could be problematic. In Michigan, the court may consider fault in deciding child custody and division of marital property.
Do not delete your accounts
If you are going through a divorce or other litigation, the best thing to do is to halt your use of social media. You may be tempted to clean up your online activity or delete your accounts. Once you enter into a divorce or any court proceeding, deleting your account may be considered destruction of evidence.
Do discuss how to use social media with your attorney. Even if you block your spouse from seeing your account, you may have connections who will share the information with or without your knowledge. You cannot trust that the information will not be seen. Be wise in using social media during your divorce and be honest with your attorney as well as the court.