The family law attorneys at Protokowicz & Rodier explain how social media activity can affect a couple going through a divorce.
With the rise in activity on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) for both personal and business reasons, our lives are increasingly becoming open books, viewable by an ever-increasing network of connections. Social media can be used to showcase the highlights in people’s lives, implement a marketing strategy or keep in touch with friends, relatives and colleagues. However, it’s becoming more common to see people turning to social media to voice negative or controversial opinions, and in the case of a divorce that can quickly backfire.
If you’re in the midst of a divorce, you may be tempted to turn to social media to vent frustrations with your soon-to-be-ex or the process, but that can be a very bad idea. Your activity on social media could negatively impact the outcome of your divorce, with very real financial implications.
Even if your intentions are good, your spouse can look at any post and gain insight about the lifestyle you’re leading. This becomes especially problematic if you’re in the midst of a custody battle, seeking alimony or demanding certain assets. Pictures of the party you attended last weekend or the vacation you took to the Caribbean could suggest that you aren’t a responsible parent or don’t need financial support, even if that’s not the case.
Part of the problem is that you’re not in complete control of your social media presence. Because others can post photos or messages that involve you, communication with family and friends during your divorce is critical in preventing any unwanted exposure. Inform them of the decisions you’ve made about your presence on social media and your wish to avoid being tagged or identified in any posts that could be misconstrued as inappropriate.
In many situations, emails and text messages can also be subpoenaed and used as evidence. Once something is put in digital “writing,” it is almost impossible to delete or dispute it, so think twice before you click “Send.” As a reminder, lying on financial documents is against the law, and social media, email and text messages provide a potentially long trail of evidence that can be difficult to disprove.
Keep in mind that online activity can also work in your favor if you and your spouse are divorcing. Monitor your spouse’s activity online and keep records of any suspicious behavior or offensive comments. But don’t forget that those same rules apply to you as well. And if you have access to your spouse’s password protected social media accounts, do not log into them as it could be unlawful or even illegal, and any information gathered or obtained through unlawful use of a spouse’s account would not be able to be utilized in your case.
No one is immune to the effects of social media so the best strategy is to keep a low profile as you move forward in your divorce, and most importantly, consult with your divorce lawyer. For more information about the impact of social media during a divorce proceeding, contact the family law attorneys at Protokowicz & Rodier.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide about the subject matter. A licensed Maryland attorney should be sought about your specific circumstances.