Can Your Social Media Posts Be Used as Evidence in Divorce Court?
Approximately seven-in-ten adults in the United States use Facebook. As the most popular social media platform in the country, Facebook plays host to billions of people, which means billions of pieces of information posted daily.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that social media in general has become a hotbed of information for anyone seeking a divorce. If your attorney needs the personal information for divorce proceedings, social media posts provide just what they need.
Keep reading to learn what social media posts an attorney can use in divorce court.
Social Media Posts in Litigation
When you’re in the middle of a custody or divorce case, both you and your spouse are entitled to request information. Your attorneys will use this information to both prepare for trial and investigate any facts they see related to your case.
Attorneys may legally request information related to any social media posts at any time during the course of the case. Either your attorney or your spouse’s attorney may use pictures and posts from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even online dating sites.
How Attorneys Use Social Media Posts
When you want to get a divorce in Texas, you should comb through your social media accounts first. You may even want to disable the accounts temporarily.
Attorneys will use social media posts in a variety of ways:
- To reveal a person’s state of mind
- To document communication from one spouse to another
- To prove the time and place of an event
- To prove how one person spends money
- To indicate who a person spends time with
- To indicate one person’s actions
Look at your social media posts from the past five years with the eyes of an attorney in mind. What do these posts reveal about you? They can say a lot.
For example, a social media post can say exactly what you were doing on a given date. It can say who you were with and where you were.
Attorneys can use this information in a custody battle. If your posts indicate that you’re at the local bar nightly or regularly vacationing south of the border, a judge may see you as an unfit parent.
Social Media: the New Smoking Gun
The information found is typically not the actual evidence a divorce attorney needs, but it’s a smoking gun leading them to what they’re looking for.
Approximately 81 percent of divorce attorneys mine social media to gather evidence from as far back as five years ago. Facebook is the main source with Twitter close behind.
Some attorneys even report that spouses openly discuss affairs on Twitter and Facebook. They often reveal that they’re at a place where they’re not supposed to be.
Investigators know how to cross social media accounts, looking for trends and patterns. So while one account may not reveal the essential information, another will.
For example, Foursquare feeds to Twitter, a public social media platform. Thus a person may believe he’s keeping his information private on Foursquare, but he’s making it public on Twitter.
Friend of a Friend
Logically, individuals in a marital dispute will not remain friends through social media. They do not want to see each other’s accounts or happenings.
But if individuals estranged from their spouse still manage to find ways to see what’s happening on their ex-spouse’s social media account. Often individuals will continue to stay friends with the friends of an ex-spouse. They do not want to appear hostile, so they maintain the social media connection.
The end result is an ex-spouse knowing what’s going on in a spouse’s life still because of the friend-of-a-friend connection.
If a friend decides to re-post information that one spouse may post, then the estranged spouse can see it, and attorneys can use the evidence in court.
A Richmond divorce attorney can use this information, even if the spouses are no longer friends on private social media accounts, such as Facebook.
Tips for Using Social Media
As soon as you believe you’re headed for divorce court, take a hard look at all of your social media accounts. Here are a few tips that you should consider as you scan your accounts.
You may be joking, but the information in a post can be used against you. Think about your character in this case as well, and make sure your friends and family do not post any videos or pictures that could taint your character.
Do not talk about your legal case on social media. Do not complain about your spouse. Attorneys can use your words against you, so do not make your opinions public through social media.
Do not spend hours and hours on social media when you’re in the middle of a divorce proceeding. When you spend extended time on social media, you look like you are possibly cheating on your spouse. If your spouse has any inkling you may be cheating on them, an attorney can use the long time you spend on social media against you.
Even if you’re not doing anything wrong through social media, accusations of cheating will make your divorce longer and more expensive.
Walk Away For Now
If you’re in the middle of a custody battle or any other sort of mitigation with an ex-spouse, consider disabling your social media accounts temporarily until you’ve settled the case. Social media is one more source of evidence that makes divorce settlements more complicated. You can save yourself the complication by temporarily suspending your accounts.
If you continue to use your social media accounts in the middle of divorce proceedings, then socialize purposefully. Get rid of any incriminating posts, and keep your posts limited to cute pictures of your pets and kids. An attorney can use social media posts against you.