Social media has become an essential part of how people interact with each other. In today’s digital era, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have some social media account they actively use. But as digital communications and social networks become further entangled in our everyday lives, they’re also ushering in unforeseen consequences in our marriages – and divorces.
According to one study, using social networking services is negatively correlated with marriage quality and happiness and positively correlated with experiencing a troubled relationship and thinking about divorce. In divorce proceedings, lawyers have used social media evidence for highlighting character attributes in child custody arrangements, revealing hidden assets in alimony settlements or even contradicting oral testimonies.
If you’re active on social media and facing divorce, it’s crucial to stay mindful of what your ex could use against you in divorce litigation and when it’s legal to do so. Here’s everything you need to know about social media and divorce.
Social media evidence in divorce
Be exceedingly cautious about what you share online or communicate in a text or email when going through a divorce. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t want a judge to read it, don’t share it. Any posts or photos that you make public and can be seen or inspected platform is fair game as evidence. Alternatively, even if your post is private, a friend could share it and allow your ex to view it. In this case, they may use your post as evidence in court. According to one survey:
- 81% of attorneys discover social networking evidence worth presenting in court.
- 66% of cases involving divorce use Facebook as one of their primary evidence sources.
- One-third of all legal action in divorce cases are triggered by affairs conducted online.
When social media isn’t fair game
In most cases, a spouse’s social media posts are admissible as evidence in the U.S. as long as you don’t obtain them illegally. An example of obtaining evidence illegally would be if your estranged husband or wife created a false account with the purpose of “following” you to collect damning evidence. It’s also illegal for your ex to hack your accounts to try to gain evidence.
For many, using social media is second nature. However, you should think twice about what you share with your networks during your divorce. Revealing too much online might come back to haunt you during your settlement.