What you post and how you use social media can impact your family law case. People post to their social media accounts so frequently that they forget about what they have posted and are shocked when copies of posts come to light at trial. Whether you are going through a divorce, disputing over child custody, or dealing with the distribution of marital assets, what you post on social media networks can come back to haunt you.
How social media posts can hurt your family law case:
- Photos. Posting pictures to social media networks can cause significant damage to your case. If you post a photo of your week-long vacation to the Caribbean but claim that you cannot pay child support or spousal maintenance, your vacation photos could be used to question your truthfulness.
- Tags. Being tagged in pictures to social media networks can also negatively affect your case. If you are tagged in a photo doing something that is strictly prohibited in your custody order/agreement, it can be used against you to show that you have violated the order/agreement.
- Checking In. Checking in at different locations on social media allows your spouse/former partner to keep tabs on you. It can also be used against you in custody disputes, as well as child support and alimony cases. If you are checking in at bars or adult establishments during a time when you have visitation with your children, this shows that you are not using your visitation time appropriately.
- Posting Negative Comments. Posting negative comments about your spouse/former partner can get you into trouble in the courtroom. Judges are not fond of negative posts as it can show that you are not supportive of your spouse/former partner’s relationship with the child.
How to protect yourself:
- Think Before You Post. Avoid any posts about your family law matter, your spouse/former partner, or your children. Before your post, upload a photo, post a meme, or comment on a page, think about what you are doing and if this information could be potentially damaging to your family law case.
- Change your password. Most clients log into their social media accounts on multiple devices and forget about saved passwords. Be sure to change your password to something that your spouse/former partner cannot guess.
- Shut Down or Disable Your Account. The best way to avoid social media evidence being used against you in your case is to stop using social media prior to and during your family law case. Remember, just because you shut it down doesn’t mean that screenshots or copies of posts have not already been saved.
- Privacy Settings. If you cannot live without your social media accounts, then be sure to check and double check your privacy settings. Limit the people that are able to view your posts, photos and comments.
- Do not accept friend requests from strangers, as they could be attempts from your spouse/former spouse to spy on you. Look through your “friends” list and unfriend anyone that you do not know or is a close friend of your spouse/former partner.
- Be Honest With Your Attorney. If you do not notify your attorney of potentially damaging information on your social media accounts, then your attorney cannot be prepared to deal with it. Share this information so that you and your attorney can create a plan on how to handle the information if used against you.
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