The use of social media has become increasingly prevalent in our society, and it is no surprise that it has also become a significant factor in divorce proceedings. In addition to a growing prominence, there is also a growing number of social media platforms that people share on. However, as much as social media grows a sense of community, it also has the potential to complicate certain aspects of our lives, especially when it comes to legal matters. As more and more people document their lives on social media, the information shared on these platforms has the potential to greatly impact divorce cases and subsequent child custody matters.
Be Mindful of Your Digital Footprint
It is important for individuals going through a divorce to be mindful of the potential consequences of their social media posts. Posts that are made in the heat of the moment can be used as evidence in court and can potentially harm one’s case. It is also possible for your digital footprint to impact custody matters, not just your divorce. For example, a post that contains derogatory statements about a spouse or their character can be used to paint the individual in a negative light during the divorce proceedings. This can also be used to show a parent is not fit for their custody requests. Similarly, a post that shows the individual engaging in behavior that is contradictory to statements made in court, such as a post showing them at a party while they claimed to be too ill to work, can also be used as evidence against them.
Privacy Settings and Boundaries on Social Media
It is important to be aware that anything that is posted on social media, whether it is a public or private post, can potentially be used as evidence. This includes photographs, videos, and private messages. For example, a photograph of a large amount of cash or expensive possessions posted on social media can be used as evidence of hidden assets during property division proceedings. This type of post could also hurt your request for spousal maintenance and/or child support.
Ensure that you are well-informed about the current privacy settings on all your social media accounts and consider adjusting them to the highest level of privacy available. It’s important to note that relying solely on privacy settings may not guarantee complete protection, as someone you trust might share your private posts beyond your intended audience. Exercise caution when accepting friend requests from unfamiliar individuals, as they may be seeking information to use against you in a legal context.
Additionally, it is a good idea to establish clear boundaries with your friends and family regarding what they can and cannot post about you and your children is crucial, particularly during a divorce and custody dispute. If your children have their own social media accounts, be extra vigilant about monitoring their online activities and discussing appropriate settings and boundaries in light of your divorce.
Documenting and Deleting Social Media Evidence
It is important to not only be cautious with your own social media activities but also to closely monitor the online behavior of the other person in your divorce. Keep a record of any evidence that could be relevant to your case, such as posts depicting irresponsible behavior, undocumented assets or income, substance abuse, or indications of unfit parenting. However, it is crucial to gather this evidence in a legal manner and seek guidance from your family law attorney on the appropriate approach. Family law attorneys typically advise documenting any online information that could support your case. Engaging in unethical or illegal activities to obtain evidence can damage your character and adversely affect your case. It is essential to adhere to legal guidelines and ensure that any evidence you present is admissible in court.
It is also important to understand the legal ramifications of deleting social media evidence. Deleting evidence can be seen as an attempt to conceal information and can be used against an individual in court. For example, if an individual deletes a post that contains derogatory statements about their spouse, it can be seen as an attempt to hide evidence and can be used to demonstrate a lack of credibility during the proceedings.
Working With An Austin Texas Divorce Attorney
It is important to consult with a family law attorney before making any decisions regarding social media use during a divorce. An experienced family law attorney can provide guidance on how to use social media in a responsible manner and can advise on the potential consequences of specific posts or actions. They can also help to ensure that any evidence that could be used in the divorce proceedings is properly preserved. If you are going through a divorce and have concerns about your social media use, contact an experienced family law attorney at Deyerle Silva Smith for help.