Social media is a huge part of society. It seems as though just about everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or some other site sharing posts and photos of their lives. While this may seem innocent enough, this practice can have dire consequences for someone going through a divorce.
In a criminal case, anything you say or do can be used against you. The same applies in a divorce case. Anything you post or otherwise make visible to others can be used as dirt against you in terms of child support, child custody and alimony. This is not limited to social media posts. Emails, texts, and online profiles such as on dating sites, can provide a wealth of information for divorce lawyers. Even a LinkedIn profile listing your jobs can show lawyers that you have jobs and income that you are not disclosing otherwise.
Written communication can be preserved forever. It can be printed, saved, screenshot, bookmarked, and more. Therefore, you need to be careful about what you tell others. Anything can be discovered online, with just a few clicks of the mouse. Here are some ways in which technology use can negatively affect your divorce case.
People tend to post every detail of their lives on social media, and this can have negative effects in a divorce, especially if you brag about finances. While you may not explicitly state how much income you are earning, you can show off your prosperity in other ways. If you are claiming that you do not have enough money to pay your ex-spouse alimony and/or child support, yet you post photos on social media about your new car, house, recent vacation, or other expensive item, the judge is going to rule against you and force you to pay up. Also, if you are supposed to be looking for a job but instead post about how you spend your days playing video games or watching TV, that is going to be looked at negatively by the judge.
If you are fighting for child custody, but your Facebook shows you partying, doing drugs, or engaging in other activities while you should be watching your children, then that is going to look bad for your custody case.
Texts and Emails
Any questionable texts or emails that end up in the wrong hands can harm your case. Badmouthing your ex-spouse or children is a good way to lose your case. Be civil at all times and refrain from crude, foul language. If you do so, and then lie about it, you will quickly lose your credibility
Refrain from discussing your divorce case with anyone. When you do communicate with others, avoid subjects such as finances. If you are seeking child custody, the judge wants to see that you are a good influence. Therefore, if you constantly talk about getting drunk or high, or there is proof that you plan to engage in unethical or illegal acts, that is going to be frowned upon by the judge. You need to be on your best behavior during your divorce.
Online profiles, such as on employment and dating sites, can also be used against you in a divorce case. For example, a profile on a dating site may be used as evidence that the spouse was cheating during the marriage, even if the profile was created after the divorce process started. Also, dating site profiles often lie or exaggerate, so if the person is misrepresenting themselves, it could cause problems in the case.
Employment profiles can be used to hide work history and sources of income. For example, many people use LinkedIn to look for jobs and post their work history so that they can be found by potential employers. Lawyers can search LinkedIn to see if a person is being truthful about their employment. This is because some people have side jobs and businesses that provide additional income, but these are often not mentioned in divorce proceedings because people want to get away with paying less alimony or child support. If additional sources of income are discovered on LinkedIn, this can be detrimental to one’s divorce case.
How to Protect Yourself
The best way to protect yourself is to avoid social media completely during your divorce. You do not want your posts to get misconstrued by a lawyer or judge. Even if you block your ex-spouse, he or she can still see what others are posting.
If you must text or email your soon-to-be ex-spouse, be careful of what you say. Anything that mentions finances or child abuse or neglect will be scrutinized by a lawyer. You may lose out on child custody or be forced to pay more alimony or child support. If you would not want a judge to read it, then refrain from writing it.
One thing to avoid is deleting social media accounts. Deleting them is actually obstruction of evidence, which can come with serious repercussions. Just leave your accounts idle, but do not delete them completely during a divorce case.
Seek Legal Help
Social media use can hurt you in a divorce. Use it sparingly or stay away from it altogether to ensure you do not mess up your chances for a favorable outcome.
Palm Beach divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you through this stressful process and move on with ease after a divorce. He can give you the advice you need to handle this transition. Schedule your consultation today by calling (954) 346-6464.