Facebook Posts as Evidence in Your Divorce Trial
Many of us are self-confessed slaves to our social media accounts. We take photos of our meals out, post about where we are going and who we are with and boast about our trips and purchases. When in the midst of a divorce or custody dispute, however, these posts can come back to haunt you—even costing you money or reducing the amount of time you get to spend with your children. Read on to see how social media can impact your family court case.
Photos and text posted to social media may be admitted as evidence in court, if relevant to the dispute between you and your spouse. Think about the implications for a moment. If you claim in court that you need a decrease in the amount of alimony you pay each month due to your inability to afford your living expenses, what might the judge think if your ex presented photos from a vacation taken weeks before to someplace distant and sunny? Likewise, if you are requesting a greater share of custodial time with your child, might the court be skeptical about trusting your stability if your Facebook wall were shown to be loaded with photos from wild nights out on the town?
While it might seem we are merely speaking innocently to friends on social media sites, the truth is that we are actually broadcasting intimate details of our lives to hundreds of people, some of whom we might not know well. Just think about all the friends you have on Facebook, or followers on Instagram—do you know who they all are? Do you trust them? Or might there be people among them who will gladly share your posts with your ex without letting you know?
During your family law case, keep your presence on social media to a minimum. Do not post about your personal activities, and ask that your friends not tag you in many posts, either. In short, refrain from posting anything you would not want the judge to see. Never post about the dispute itself, nor speak ill of your former spouse or partner in a public forum. Make your accounts private, and do not add people whose names you don’t recognize—it could be an opposing attorney or private investigator, posing as a stranger to access your recent or older posts.