It can be tempting to seek out support from friends on Facebook when you are in the middle of a difficult divorce. Updating your status, sharing photos of a rare night out and venting about your soon-to-be ex are all activities that can help you decompress and release tension. Unfortunately, all these activities can also create legal and financial headaches for you in your divorce proceedings.
Divorce attorneys are well aware that stressed individuals rely on social media to connect with others during tumultuous times. In a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 66 percent of divorce lawyers polled said that they obtained evidence about their client’s spouses from Facebook when preparing for divorce proceedings. What attorneys find online can build their client’s case, affect custody agreements and shape the terms of property settlement agreements.
Protect Yourself During Divorce By Recognizing These Social Media Hazards
- Understand that whatever you post can be used as evidence against you during your divorce. Privacy settings can create a false sense of security because savvy investigators can work around these restrictions and access your online information.
- Realize that photos can be taken out of context. These images can be used to undercut your requests for financial support or negatively affect your property division negotiations. You may have taken a much-needed vacation with friends; however, opposing counsel can argue that these pictures provide evidence that you have more disposable income than you may have disclosed.
- Be wary of the information that you share with your “online friends”. Unscrupulous individuals can create profiles to trick you into sharing your posts with them. When you vent about your estranged spouse on social media, these messages can come back to haunt you during court proceedings.
- Think before you type. Once you share information online, that information can be accessed for years. Facebook, Snap and other social media providers save all images and texts in databases. They can be required to release this information to your former spouse’s attorney.
The divorce process can be exhausting and frustrating. It is natural to reach out to friends during this stressful time. Rather than tapping out a quick update online, consider meeting with a friend off-line to discuss your situation. Your divorce settlement agreement may benefit from your change in venue.