As CNBC reports, a recent study found a strong association between divorce rates and Facebook enrollment, with states that saw a 20 percent increase in Facebook users also seeing their divorce rates increase by up to 4.32 percent. While the impact that social media has on divorce rates is certainly interesting, what is even more important to know – at least for those getting divorced – is what effect social media could have on a divorce settlement itself.
Social media evidence in divorce
There’s a very simple reason why social media matters in divorce: because everything that is published publicly on social media (and even some things published “privately”) could ultimately end up before the eyes of the other spouse and their attorney during a divorce. For example, pictures of one spouse showing off their brand new Mercedes could be used by the other spouse as evidence that the spousal maintenance they are receiving is too low given the first spouse’s obvious financial wellbeing. Even a seemingly innocuous post could be misconstrued to put one party in an especially bad light.
What not to post on social media
As WTOP News points out, the risks inherent with social media during divorce are so serious that the best thing most people can do when going through a divorce is to get off social media entirely. That way, even an innocent post cannot be turned against them.
While some may think that increasing one’s privacy settings or “blocking” an ex-spouse from viewing one’s social media posts is enough protection, in many cases, it’s not. That’s because it is likely that the spouses have mutual friends and acquaintances who can relay what one spouse is posting to the other spouse. In other cases, a subpoena could be issued that could land private posts in court.
For those who insist on remaining on social media during their divorce, it is extremely important to think carefully about how each post could potentially be misconstrued by the other spouse or by a judge. For example, a fun night out on the town may seem innocent enough, but it could be used by the other spouse as evidence of a drinking problem, which in turn could become damaging evidence during child custody hearings. Likewise, bragging about major new purchases could be used as evidence that the spouse may be hiding assets from the other spouse.
Getting legal advice
The risks inherent with social media during divorce should serve as a reminder of why it is so important to have an attorney on hand during this difficult time. An experienced family law attorney can advise clients about what they should and should not do during their divorce so as to give them a stronger hand during the settlement negotiations.