Social media may provide you with a positive forum for reconnecting with old friends, meeting new people and generally moving on with your life after your divorce. But social media sites can also become a useful source of evidence that supports your spouse’s case against you.
In fact, in a 2010 survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 81 percent of AAML members say they had witnessed an increase in use of social media in divorce cases. Four years later, that number has likely continued to grow.
During your divorce proceedings, use social media appropriately by keeping the following in mind:
- Pictures can be taken out of context — A photo of you with a cocktail in hand and an attractive friend draped across your shoulders may be entirely innocent. However, if your spouse has challenged child custody based upon your extravagant partying, the image could be problematic. Likewise, pictures of you enjoying a much-deserved budgeted holiday may nonetheless be construed as evidence of your financial viability.
- Your friends may also be your spouse’s friends — After you and your spouse have split, many of your mutual friends likely remain in contact with both of you. Therefore, assume that any information you post on social media will eventually reach your spouse.
- Online dating sites expose your profile to scrutiny — Slightly exaggerating your financial well-being and the importance of your job on your online dating profile might be harmless enough under normal circumstances. But during your divorce, your spouse can point to your profile to show you make more money and have a higher earning potential than you actually do.
- Facebook friends are not your therapists — You may be entirely justified for anger toward your ex. However, Facebook is not the place to vent your feelings. Talk face to face with your friends, hire a therapist or write in a journal, but don’t post hostile messages online where your spouse can use them against you.
- “Deleted” information may come back to haunt you — You may hit the delete button, but your message could still be floating in cyberspace and retrieved by your spouse’s tech-savvy investigator. Think before you post — if you don’t want it to be permanent, don’t post it.
To learn more about safely using social media as you go through the divorce process, consult an attorney in Tampa Bay.