Posting on social media has become a social norm in modern America. Whenever something happens in our lives, our knee-jerk reaction is to snap a photograph and share our experience with all of our online friends. While Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google Plus have become useful outlets for people to keep in touch with friends and family, abusing social media can have serious consequences, especially during divorce. A person’s online presence can have a great impact on divorce negotiations and settlement agreements. If you are separating from your spouse, it is vital that you watch what you post online to avoid potential legal consequences.
Privacy Is an Illusion
It is imperative to remember that anything posted on the internet is permanent. Even if you delete or hide a post, there is likely a cached version or a screenshot of it on a server that can be accessed with a little digging. Blocking or “unfriending” a person can be just as ineffective, as mutual friends of you and the blocked person can still see what you post. Since social media providers are constantly changing up their privacy settings, you can never be too sure who is actually seeing what you post once you hit “send.”
There is always a possibility that an unintended viewer will be able to see your post. A prime example of this is Facebook’s “friends of friends” loophole. This clause allows the friends of people on your friends list to see your private posts that your mutual friends have liked, commented on, or shared, thereby exposing your posts to a much larger audience than initially believed. Other people’s posts can have a similar effect.
This has been known to expose infidelity and other unsavory behaviors in marriages. For example, if a husband is tagged in a picture on Facebook of him and his mistress, his wife can now see the post. The wife can now file for divorce on grounds of fault, potentially giving her an advantage during negotiations. Another example would be if a person were to claim to be unable to pay spousal support due to financial hardship, only to subsequently post a photo of their newly purchased luxury wristwatch. The receiving spouse now has proof that the paying spouse is indeed financially capable of paying alimony and will likely receive a greater award as a result of their dishonesty.
Social Media Posts Are Admissible as Evidence
Anything that is transmitted electronically or posted on the internet can be used as evidence during divorce litigation.
Electronic documents, text messages, and social posts can influence the following:
To protect yourself, consider anything that is electronically written to be public information. Do not write or send anything you would not want a judge to get their hands on.
Steer clear of posting any of the following:
- Angry rants directed at your spouse
- Photographs with a new significant other
- Posts or photos indicating neglectful parenting
- Threats of physical harm or racial slurs
Divorcing? Call (951) 506-6654
If you and your spouse have decided to separate, a knowledgeable Riverside divorce lawyer from Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich can walk you through the process of divorce and protect your rights every step of the way. With a Certified Family Law Specialist within our ranks, we have the skills and knowledge you need to maximize your chances of achieving an amicable resolution for your situation.
To find out more about what our decades of experience can do for you, contact our office online today.