Why social media is a powerful tool in a divorce case

This article looks at why social media posts have become such a powerful tool in family law cases.

Social media is now so ubiquitous that sharing a photo online or updating one's "status" has become second nature to many people. Indeed, as Divorce Magazine points out, about three quarters of American adults use social networking sites, with that figure rising even higher for those under the age of 50. With people sharing so much of their personal lives online, it is important to understand that social media can play a major role in a divorce case. In fact, many issues that may need to be decided during a divorce, including splitting assets and child custody, could be seriously impacted by what one shares on social media.

How social media affects divorce cases

In a divorce case, information is power, especially when that information concerns a soon-to-be ex-spouse's possible hidden assets or questionable behavior. As Forbes points out, the temptation to share so much information about major life events is having a particularly big impact on how property is divided during a divorce. Individuals going through a divorce who share information about a new promotion at work, a vacation to the Caribbean, or their brand new luxury car may be exposing themselves to suspicions of hiding assets.

Social media posts can also have a big impact on child custody cases. If one of the parents in a child custody case posts pictures of themselves engaging in behavior that could be deemed irresponsible or a risk to the child then those posts could be used against them in court. Such behavior may include evidence of drug taking, alcohol abuse, and so on.

How to protect oneself

Of course, damaging social media posts that an ex-spouse has posted can be a powerful tool for arguing one's side in a divorce case. However, the reverse situation is also true, meaning that anybody going through a divorce needs to be extremely careful about what they post online. The best thing to do is to deactivate one's social media accounts and refrain from posting anything online, at least until a final divorce settlement is agreed upon.

However, individuals going through a divorce should not delete posts as that could be construed as destroying evidence and may lead to legal trouble. Furthermore, while social media posts that are shared publicly can be used in court, neither party can obtain the other party's social media posts through illegal or deceitful means. That means breaking into an ex-spouse's Facebook account to find incriminating photos will simply mean those photos will not be admissible as evidence in court.

Family law advice

Going through a divorce or dealing with any family law issue can be difficult. That is why anybody who is considering or is in the midst of a divorce should contact an attorney today. An experienced attorney can help clients with all manner of divorce-related legal issues, including with property division, alimony, child support, and child custody.