FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2009-08-31
Social networking sites have become some of the most popular places on the Internet, but people are discovering — sometimes too late — that what they post online can be extremely damaging in a divorce.
Time magazine recently ran an article about a couple whose divorce spilled into the online world of Facebook. Husband Patrick told wife Tammie that he wanted a divorce. She began contacting women Patrick had become Facebook friends with, making sure they knew he was married with children — a fact he had neglected to mention in his profile.
According to Time, lawyers find Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites to be “evidentiary goldmines,” often filled with incriminating photos, comments, confessions and links to new significant others.
If you are going through a divorce, think twice about what you post on the web. Be careful tagging friends in photographs, writing comments about lawyers, judges, or your spouse, and even be cautious about who you request to be your friend, or who you “delete” from your list of friends. This can all be traced, and may negatively affect your credibility and potential settlement of your case. Even innocent comments taken out of context could be damaging.
People often brag online about partying, affairs, gift-giving and other activities that are damaging when presented to a judge in divorce court. Many people even post damaging proof of behavior they later wish had been kept quiet.
Many people wrongly assume that their social networking pages are private, viewable only to designated friends and acquaintances. In reality, it’s not difficult for a former spouse, friend or investigator to uncover the “private” information, resulting in potentially damaging consequences in court. Those digital footprints last forever, and can cause permanent damage.
Don’t put anything on your social networking pages you wouldn’t want your estranged spouse, their attorney, and potentially a judge to see. Search engines are constantly indexing your comments, your photos, your blogs and all the rest, making what is meant to be private, very public information.
Just remember, someone is always watching.