As social media becomes more ubiquitous in daily life, people are becoming more accustomed to sharing all aspects of their lives online. With sites such as Facebook, Flickr, MySpace,Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr, people can broadcast their thoughts, feelings and pictures to everyone in real time. As posting information on social media sites becomes more natural to people, those going through divorce may share details about their situations online. However, doing so can end up harming them, as evidence gathered from social media sites becomes more prevalent in divorceproceedings in Texas and across the country.
Social Media Evidence in Court
People may think that the information they post online is harmless enough, but it can cause complications in the courtroom. Things can be taken out of context or used to refute claims that a party makes. If one spouse posts angry or derogatory statements about the other spouse online, it can make that spouse seem unreasonable or unstable to the judge. It may decrease the likelihood that the judge will grant what that spouse wants in property or child custody disputes.
Additionally, posted pictures can cause a host of problems. If one spouse is claiming that he or she cannot afford to pay spousal support, but then posts pictures of him or herself online on an expensive vacation or driving a new car, it makes claims of poverty ring hollow. It will make the spouse look less credible in the judge’s eyes. One spouse may also use pictures of a spouse drinking or using drugs as evidence that the spouse is not a fit parent.
Using Social Media During Divorce
Many divorce lawyers advise their clients to avoid using social media during divorce proceedings. However, cutting off completely from online social networks may be difficult for some, as it may be a source of emotional support during a difficult time. If complete withdrawal from social media is not an option, people should follow some tips for social media use during divorce:
- Do not discuss the divorce proceedings or the other spouse
- Post pictures with care and ensure that the pictures cannot be misinterpreted
- Do not accept new friend requests, as the request may be from a person monitoring a person’s social media activity on behalf of the other spouse
- Do not allow friends to upload photographs or tag pictures