We use social media every day. We post pictures of our children to Facebook, talk about our frustrations or triumphs with friends and share our everyday activities through tweets. Most people do not realize the consequences these posts might have on serious matters, such as a divorce. Emails, texts and any online posts can be used as evidence in court, which could affect the outcome of your divorce.
How can social media affect the outcome?
Usually, the most common aspects of a divorce affected by social media are spousal maintenance, child support and parental responsibility and time.
Each spouse’s financial state is an important piece of a divorce case, since it can affect how much child support is ordered and whether or not one spouse requires maintenance. Social media can reveal dishonesty or hidden assets. Let’s say one party claims in court that they do not have the financial means to pay child support but then they make a post online about getting a promotion at their job. The court may highly question their credibility and investigate their finances further to determine how much they can actually pay.
Social media also might affect parental responsibility and time. Usually court tries to keep both parents in a child’s life if that is in the child’s best interest, but social media could damage a parent’s right to see their child. For example, if one party posts pictures of having their friends over to drink and party on a night they were caring for the kids, their credibility as a responsible parent could be damaged.
Should I delete old posts that might harm my case?
In general, you should not delete anything on your social media while your divorce is going on. Because social media can be used as evidence, deleting your posts or account could be viewed as an obstruction of justice, which could have significant consequences and complicate your case even further. Even deleted posts can be retrieved by experts or they could have been shared somewhere else. So, it may be tempting, but it probably will not help you and it could end up harming you.
Remember: once something is on the Internet, it is never truly gone. Be very cautious about posting during a divorce. Many divorcing couples find it helpful to refrain from using social media at all during the case. If you are concerned about how social media could affect your case, you can consult a family law attorney about the best course of action.