In the digital age, anything you do, say or post online can and may be used against you in a court of law. That is especially true when it comes to divorce.
Consider this: one of every five divorces in the U.S. is at least partially due to a post on Facebook. More than 80 percent of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers report either using or encountering evidence extracted from social websites. And more than 65 percent of online divorce evidence comes from Facebook.
At our law firm, we’ve seen marriages end based on cell phone calls made from compromising places or situations. Many a spouse has found his or her allegedly faithful husband or wife profiled on the numerous online dating sites. There are custody cases where the custody seeker’s picture has been posted online appearing drunk and disorderly, where the allegedly ‘broke’ spouse has been tagged in luxury destinations, and where the ‘down-and-out’ payor’s profile has been updated with a recent job promotion!
Almost no divorce lawyer these days need a private investigator: all the incriminating evidence we need can be found on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and endless other sites that record not only what we publish about ourselves but what others post about us.
So if a separation or divorce is looming in your future, here are some things to consider.
- Don’t use social media to voice your grievances about your ex. Keep in mind that you are previewing evidence, which is never wise. Worse still, you could be accused of trying to alienate the children from the other parent by your obvious hostility. Even seemingly harmless posts can hurt your case in court.
- Avoid disclosing anything about your relationship status online, even in emails. Personal communication is best.
- Use privacy settings to limit who sees your posts. You may want to shut down your social sites entirely for a limited time.
The bottom line: be extremely careful about what you publish on your social networks. Remember the Golden Rule: if you can’t post something nice about someone, don’t post anything at all. Then there’s the Legal Golden Rule: never post anything that you would not like to see ‘zoomed’ as a large screen sized Exhibit in a court of law.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.