If you are among the millions of Americans who live their lives on social media and are going through a divorce, it is time to take a step back and think before posting. You should be aware that what you post or say on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube or other social media platforms could have a negative impact on your legal case.
You don’t have to stop living your life while dealing with a divorce, but your social media habits may need some adjustment. Social media content may be used as evidence in divorce cases, such as to demonstrate infidelity or to show that a person is unfit as a parent.
- 81% of divorce attorneys discover social media evidence worth presenting in court
- 66% of cases involving divorce employ Facebook as one of their principal evidence sources
The same study says online “evidence can … highlight character attributes in custody arrangements, hidden assets such as boats and cars in alimony settlements, contradict oral testimonies and more.”
Another thing to keep in mind is that your spouse’s divorce attorney will review your social media accounts for any damaging material. They have an obligation to their client to use it if they find it.
The wrong move online could make an uncontested divorce become a contested ordeal. Below are some tips about social media and divorce. If you think the content of your social media accounts is such that it could become an issue in your Alabama divorce, contact Leigh Daniel Family Law today for a consultation. Our Huntsville divorce attorneys work to cut the drama out of divorce and can answer any questions you have.
Call now for a consultation at (256) 551-0500 or contact us online.
Social Media Use While Seeking Divorce
Some divorce lawyers advise their clients to close their social media accounts and stay away from others online until their divorce is finalized. We know that is not always practical, but you can keep a low profile online.
Social Media Tips to Follow to Help Make Your Separation and Divorce a Smoother Process
- Do not discuss your separation or divorce on social media.
- Do not criticize your spouse, children, other family members, or spouse’s friends on social media. This antagonizes people and may be used as evidence that you are aggressive.
- Do not change your relationship status on Facebook from “married” to “single” until your divorce is final.
- Do not make posts about spending money, such as photos of a new car or a vacation. This may be used to argue your income is higher than you have said.
- Do not make posts that depict you as dating or partying while you are going through separation and divorce. These types of photos or comments may be used to cast you in a bad light.
- Avoid texting, chatting, liking, and commenting on posts with others online who could be portrayed as potential romantic partners.
- Ask family and friends to avoid posting photos of you or comments about you on social media.
- Do not go online if you have been drinking or using mood-altering drugs.
If there is material online that you think could be used against you, tell your attorney about it. Do NOT try to delete it. You could possibly face charges of withholding, tampering with, or destroying evidence relevant to a legal proceeding.
If your estranged spouse’s attorney requests that you produce evidence from or allow access to your online accounts and suddenly there’s nothing there, you could face fines. By law, the judge who will decide the terms of your divorce will be allowed to presume that the lost information was unfavorable to you.
Using Social Media in Your Favor During Divorce
You may be able to use material your estranged spouse published online against him or her in your divorce proceedings.
We aren’t counseling that you spend your nights searching your spouse’s social media presence with hopes of finding damaging evidence. But if there is such evidence, you may use it as long as you obtain it legally. It must be publicly available information, such as Twitter or Instagram posts or YouTube videos. It may be their posts shared by a third party you are linked to online.
Do not use your spouse’s password to access their accounts. This makes anything you gather illegally obtained information, which is not admissible in court. You could also be charged with hacking, which is a federal crime.
If you know your spouse’s social media, email or other digital data contains evidence that is relevant to your divorce case, your attorney can request a court order to make it available to you as part of your divorce proceeding. A request to produce data compilations can include social media and email, as well as browser histories, contact lists, digital photographs, word processing files, spreadsheet files, and calendars. A subpoena would state that such information may be found on hard drives, flash drives, network storage, remote storage, cloud storage, cell, and smartphones, or virtually any electronic source.
Let a Huntsville Divorce Attorney Help You
A divorce is an emotionally charged process, and it’s easy to make mistakes that can hurt you if you do not have proper legal counsel. As soon as you are ready to discuss your potential divorce, our compassionate legal team is ready to listen and help you.
Contact Leigh Daniel Family Law in Huntsville as soon as possible if you are considering divorce in Alabama. Our divorce attorneys can walk you through the process of divorce under Alabama law and advise you of the steps to take immediately to protect your rights and interests if you are considering ending your marriage.
Contact us online or phone us at (256) 551-0500 today to schedule a consultation.