How Social Media Can Affect Divorce Proceedings
For many people today, social media plays an important role in their lives. People of all ages stay in touch with family, friends, and networking connections through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn. In a divorce, however, it is important to know that social media is not your friend. If you use it at all, be very careful of what you post.
How Can Social Media Disrupt a Divorce?
If you must go through divorce, ideally, the proceedings will be streamlined and run as smoothly as possible. Social media posts can disrupt this. A spouse’s divorce attorney may search social media for posts that can be used as evidence against the other party. Posting on Facebook, Twitter or other platform while you are going through a divorce could have legal consequences that affect your finances and your relationship with your children in the future.
How Can Your Spouse’s Attorney Use Social Media Against You?
While social media may not be the reason for a divorce, it can exacerbate problems that exist in a marriage, such as jealousy, infidelity, mistrust, and abuse. In a contentious divorce, lawyers representing the other party may scan social media for posts that make you appear in a less favorable light. For example, the other side may use social media content as evidence to try to prove:
- Neglect of parental responsibilities (as when a parent leaves the children at home to go out partying with friends)
- Misrepresenting your financial situation as it relates to child support (from a picture or post regarding a new, expensive purchase, such an automobile)
- Infidelity (photos posted of a spouse with a new significant other)
- Abusive behavior (ranting on social media about the other spouse)
How Can You Increase Your Social Media Security During a Divorce?
It may be wise to deactivate (not delete) your social media accounts until after your divorce is finalized. At the very least, change your privacy settings to allow only friends and the followers you choose to view your profile. Be careful of any friend requests you receive during your divorce, and make sure you investigate the profile of anyone who sends one. Fake profiles are commonly used to gain access. Change your passwords to ensure that only you can access your social media accounts. Consider changing your security questions in case your spouse knows the answers.
What Should You Avoid Posting On Social Media?
If you use social media at all during your divorce, it is important to be very cautious about what you post – and what your friends and family post about you. The following should be absolutely avoided while your divorce is in progress:
- Changing your status from single to divorced before the process is finalized
- Saying anything about your spouse or discussing the divorce on social media
- Posting photos that show you engaging in anything that could be considered reckless, such as smoking marijuana or consuming alcohol
- Posting anything about money you have received or purchases you have recently made
- Posting comments or photos depicting yourself and a new partner before you are legally divorced
Who Can You Contact For Help With Social Media During a Divorce?
Social media can have a significant impact on your divorce proceedings. Our Chicago divorce lawyers at Nottage and Ward, LLP can advise you on how to use social media during a divorce. If you are considering divorce, it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney and take control of social media content before the process is begun. Call us to schedule a consultation at (312) 332-2915.
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