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Divorcing? Watch your social media

As you go through a divorce, it’s natural to “turn the corner” and think about the next life ahead of you. You may want to update your progress with family and friends, some of whom have been worried about you. It’s only natural to share this on social media as you show the world that you can bounce back and begin anew.

You have to be careful, however. Social media posts are used as evidence in many divorce cases, and you can be sure that your spouse and their lawyer are watching. It is vitally important that change your settings, consider deactivating altogether, or at the very least think before you post.

Social media as evidence

With an estimated 82% of online adults between the ages of 30 and 49 using social media, it is a wealth of information about their daily lives.  Increasingly this is used in court during divorce  proceedings.

What may seem like a harmless update to your friends might be construed as something much more sinister in a divorce case.  An otherwise innocent happy hour with friends can be used as evidence of a drinking problem.  An expensive looking vacation might be a sign that there are hidden assets being tapped.  A new relationship might be a sign that cheating went on during the marriage.

Anything which can be seen by the public is admissible in court.  The simplest thing to do is to change your settings so that only family and friends can see your posts.  But if there is other evidence, a sharp lawyer might seek a subpoena to look at all of your social media posts and even emails.  It’s best to simply be careful what you say and think about how it might be construed.

The temptation to scrub

When heeding advice like this, many divorcing spouses are tempted to go through their online presence and delete everything which might in some way appear harmful.  Never do this without advice from your attorney first.

If litigation has started, you may be destroying evidence.  That is a far worse situation than simply having a few postings that can be taken badly.  You should have a conversation with your attorney about social media, how you use it, and where you have accounts which are in any way public.

Watch the kids

Everyone likes to post updates and pictures of their children.  In the middle of a custody battle this is a particularly difficult minefield.  

Any updates suggesting that the children are in a dangerous or inappropriate situation, such as a party where alcohol is served, might be used in an effort to deny custody.  The best rule of thumb involving children on social media during divorce is to simply leave them out.  Your life is going to be under a microscope until the proceedings are finished, and you don’t want to do anything that jeopardizes your case.

Talk to your attorney

In all cases, an attorney experienced in family law is going to be able to help you navigate what may be appropriate what should be posted and what should not be.  The increasing use of social media in divorce proceedings does not have to jeopardize your case, but it might mean that it is best for you to “go dark” for a while.  Your friends and family will understand.

 

 

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The Law Offices of Oliver R. Gutierrez
600 Allerton St., Suite 200
Redwood City, CA 94063

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