Ways that Social Media Can Affect Your Divorce or Family Court Proceeding
Social media has become a ubiquitous part of modern life. We may feel an urge to keep our friends, family, and complete strangers fully apprised of the latest goings-on in our lives through Facebook and Instagram posts, or to prove how well our lives are going through photos of our latest purchases or paramours. If you’re going through a divorce or custody dispute, take note: posts to social media could come back to haunt you in court and are capable of having a destructive effect on your case. Read on to learn about the perils of social media during a family law dispute, and contact a seasoned Poughkeepsie family law attorney for further assistance.
Think before you post
The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has reported that 81% of member attorneys have either used or encountered evidence pulled from social media during a divorce trial. This means that, if you’re accustomed to liberally posting about your personal life online, you’ll need to reevaluate your relationship to social media during a divorce. Before you post, ask yourself this critical question: what would the judge in my case think if they saw this post? If you’ve claimed not to make enough money to afford your alimony payments, what would the judge think of a post about a lavish vacation you took recently? If you claim to be a loving, mature, and stable parent, what would the judge think of a post about how wild you got on a late night out with friends?
These posts might not be an entirely-accurate representation of your lifestyle. However, if someone sees only one post out of context, it can be hard for them to know where the truth lies. Portray yourself as the responsible and respectable person that you are, rather than trying to paint a picture of an exciting newly-single lifestyle just to prove a point to an ex.
Limit post visibility, but don’t delete
While you may feel anxious that past photos or posts will hurt your case going forward, speak to your attorney before deleting old posts. These posts might be evidence that you’re obligated to produce to the opposing side, and destroying them could land you in serious trouble with the court. That said, you have a right to make all your social media accounts private during your case, and you should.
You should also limit the amount of posting you do during your case even to private accounts, as there is the chance that someone you consider a friend has decided to help your former spouse or co-parent by passing along posts that could be helpful to their side. Never add someone as a friend whom you don’t know personally, as this could turn out to be an investigator or someone who wants to see posts you only share with friends.
If you’re considering filing for divorce in New York, prepare for a successful outcome by consulting with professional, dedicated, and compassionate legal help. Contact the Poughkeepsie family law attorneys at Van DeWater & Van DeWater at 845-452-5900.