Can Facebook Posts Be Used in Family Court?
Going through a divorce or other family law matter, like a custody dispute, can be a grueling and emotionally exhausting time. Having the support of family and friends is more important than ever which is why you may be tempted to turn to social media in a big way. Postings and messages sent out to your circle of friends can be reassuring, giving you the vote of confidence and emotional support you need at such a stressful time. Is this a good idea? Most attorneys will probably tell you no. Of course, it depends on what you post. However, it can be too tempting to post rants or to make revealing mistakes that can harm your case when you are under enormous emotional pressure. The problem is those posts can later be used against you in court.
This above applies not only to Facebook but to all of the social media outlets, including Twitter, Instagram, and more. It can be very easy to post damning evidence against yourself that can harm your legal standing in your divorce or other family law matter. This is often unknown or forgotten in the heat of the moment by social media users. However, as long as the posts are presented as legally-obtained records, they constitute valid evidence in a court of law.
Heading for divorce or another family law matter in Riverside County? Let our experienced team at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich help. Call (951) 506-6654 to speak with an attorney in a complimentary consultation about your case.
How Can Social Media Derail Your Case?
When you post on social media, you are exposing yourself. Examples of that exposure can include:
- Making it appear that you have more income or assets than what you are claiming in court. You could be claiming that you can’t afford a certain amount of child support or alimony while posting yourself enjoying an expensive vacation or something equally pricey. Postings can also expose assets that a spouse may be hiding from the other spouse.
- Drug use or excessive alcohol use that could be used against you to show that you are unfit to have shared custody of your kids.
- Neglect of your kids if you post yourself enjoying the party life when they are on your watch and you have left them home alone.
- Messages on Facebook that document the fact that you refused to allow your ex-spouse to have access to the kids; this shows that you violated the court order regarding custody and visitation.
- Other exposures of potentially bad or harmful behavior or personal choices that could compromise your case.
It is important to remember that, even with privacy settings that are supposed to protect you, what you post can eventually get seen by those you would rather not have seen it. So what should you do? For full insurance, don’t post anything at all. You could even delete your social media accounts while your case is pending. If you think you can refrain from damaging outbursts, then keep your accounts but never hit the send button on any message or post without letting it sit for a time. Then reread it with a critical eye. Keep your messages and posts short and try to stick to the facts without a lot of drama. Bear in mind that whatever you post might be viewed by a judge and everyone else in your court case someday.
Divorce Is Hard But We Can Help
The above is basic guidance for those facing the difficulties of divorce and other family law issues. At Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich, we understand what you are going through. We have represented countless individuals in Riverside County facing family law matters in even the most complex and contentious cases. Our legal team includes a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist who brings the highest level of training and professionalism to your case and can be called a “legal expert” in this practice area. Let us provide all the guidance and skills you need to help you reach the best possible case outcome.
Reach out to our firm at (951) 506-6654 for the help you need today.