Over the last few years, more people than ever have started getting social on the internet. Where Facebook and Twitter were once looked down upon as things kids used for distractions, now accomplished adults are sharing photos of their weekend trips and keeping their friends up-to-date on their plans.
As with any form of expression, social media posts have also shifted the way people are assessed during legal proceedings. What originally seemed like a harmless tweet can now be the seed that sows someone's destruction. This is especially true during divorce proceedings. Many attorneys advise their clients to stay off social media entirely during divorce, and for several good reasons.
Never assume posts are secure
Perhaps more often than ever, social media posts are being used as evidence in court. Angry Facebook rants and poorly considered Instagram photos routinely pass a judge's bench and often to great effect.
Never assume that your social media posts are invisible to your soon-to-be ex-spouse. No matter how thoroughly you adjust your privacy settings and lockdown your profiles, there is always a way for an interested party to get a look at what you're posting.
The only way to be total secure is to abstain completely because:
- Social media reveals spending habits - Money is often the biggest issue when someone is going through a divorce. Uploading photos of time spent out with friends, taking trips, buying new items and otherwise spending cash can be a nail in your financial coffin in divorce court.
- Posts may hurt custody arguments- If money is not your biggest concern, child custody almost certainly is. Your spouse's divorce attorney will waste no time in pouncing on social media posts of you out with friends, especially if alcohol is involved, and using them as evidence that you are unfit for custody.
- Photos provide a huge amount of evidence - In addition to simply showing what is happening, photos are often tagged with the names of people you are with, where the photo was taken, when you were there and other pieces of data that stand to reinforce your spouse's attorney's arguments.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you - Everyone needs to blow off steam, but a rant in a Facebook status will only be fodder to paint you as an angry, unstable individual. Even if you delete the post, nothing ever truly leaves the internet. Anything can be found and leveraged.
- Mutual friends may turn on you - Friends you and your spouse shared are now in an awkward position. While not everyone will want to "choose sides", any that do will have a direct line to your social media exploits. There is no telling what friends and others may be relaying to interested parties.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms have become a major part of most people's daily lives. Staying away from them may be difficult, but the possible downsides almost always outweigh the good. When you need to vent, do it with trusted friends and family. You'll be happy you did.