Social media has become ubiquitous in our lives. We go to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok to share the day-to-day experiences in our lives with family and friends. Often, we also share our thoughts and feelings, whether we are happy, sad, angry, or excited.
Unfortunately, social media can also be used against you in a family law case. Even if you use private settings or delete old posts, your social media activity can still be evidence in a divorce, child custody battle, or other family-related legal matters. Furthermore, what you think is fun and innocent could get twisted and taken out of context to harm your case.
The attorneys at the Adams Law Firm know this and can help guide you on the most appropriate use of social media when you are engaged in a legal proceeding.
Examples of Social Media as Evidence in a Family Law Case
You may be quite used to turning to Facebook or Twitter to share a picture or post about everyday matters. But this could be used as evidence against you or otherwise harm your family law case. Let’s look at some examples.
- Evidence of your financial status – Posts demonstrating lavish spending or lifestyle could jeopardize your case for spousal or child support. For example, if you claim to need spousal support, but post pictures of yourself at fancy restaurants, with an expensive new purse, or going on a tropical vacation, your spouse could use that to demonstrate your claim is false or overstated.
- Evidence of unfit parenting – If your social media posts show activity or a state of mind that is reckless or unstable, you could undermine your case for child custody or visitation rights. For example, posts that exhibit excessive drinking, promiscuous behavior, or violent or hopeless thoughts could be used as evidence to persuade the court that you are an unfit parent.
- Evidence as grounds for divorce – Your social media posts could be used to demonstrate cruelty, adultery, or other grounds for divorce.
Social Media Can Turn a Family Law Case Ugly
Beyond serving as evidence, your social media activity could simply trigger your spouse into pursuing a less amicable divorce. For example, if you post negative or derogatory comments about your spouse, share pictures of yourself with a new love interest, or otherwise anger your spouse, you could find yourself in a contentious divorce proceeding as they seek vengeance against you.
During your family law case, think twice before you vent or boast on social media. When in doubt, a family lawyer can advise on how best to manage your social media activity during your case.
Tips for Managing Your Social Media Usage
Here are some tips for carefully managing your social media usage during your family law case:
- Change your passwords – Even if you are not sure that your spouse knows your passwords, it is a good idea to change them anyway.
- Update your settings – Make your profile is private and prevent anyone from tagging you in posts or pictures. Also, change your settings so that other users cannot place a post on your account without you first reviewing it.
- Think before you post – Before you post anything, give yourself time to think. Ask yourself, “What would the judge in my case think if they read this?” When in doubt, err on the side of not posting anything, or talk with your lawyer, who can be a sounding board for you during these emotional proceedings.
- Be aware of what others post about you – It may be helpful to ask friends and family to refrain from posting on your account or about you or your case during this time. Also, be wary of people who are not your friends posting pictures or videos of you on social media.
- Do not delete your accounts or posts – This could be seen as an inference of guilt or destroying evidence. Furthermore, be honest with your attorney about any social media activity or posts in your past that you think could become problematic in your case. It is best if your lawyer can get ahead of these types of situations.
The Adams Law Firm Can Be Your Sounding Board
Social media, while a useful tool in many ways, can also be used against you in your family law case. It is wise to have an experienced lawyer on your side who can honestly advise you on appropriate social media behavior. The Adams Law Firm advises our clients about how to navigate the precarious world of social media. Before you post, contact our office today at (281) 391-9237 for a confidential consultation.