Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat provide an abundance of opportunities to undermine your family law case. For many, social media has become a type of semi-public journal of their day-to-day life. Whether your relationship is in a rocky state, or you are already involved in family law litigation, your social media sites can be a gold mine of information that your significant other and/or their attorney can use against you in court.
Through your social media posts, one can track your daily activities, uncover the negative views you have of your significant other, and discover issues or characteristics that may reflect negatively on your parenting—all of which can be used as ammunition against you in a family law proceeding. Posting on social media every time you are out at a bar is not going to make you seem like a responsible parent when negotiating child custody and placement. Likewise, social media posts may impact your family law proceeding with respect to financial issues, such as property division, child support, and spousal support.
The following is a list of recommendations we encourage everyone to follow whether or not they are in the midst of, or think they may be heading toward, legal proceedings in a family law matter.
1. Do not post about every weekend outing, vacation, luxurious meal, concert, etc. that you take, eat, or attend without your partner.
2. Do not update your relationship status to publicize a new relationship while you are still going through legal proceedings in family court.
3. Do not post pictures of you with a new significant other.
4. Do not disparage your partner on social media.
5. Do not post statements or pictures about consuming too much alcohol or using illegal substances.
6. Do not brag about excessive spending or luxury purchases.
7. If you are not already social media “friends” with your children, do not “friend” them now.
8. Make sure your privacy settings are set as you want them.
9. Do not complain online about the judge, the family law court process, or anyone involved in the judicial system.
10. Do not write and post statements made while you are angry, hurt, or after you have consumed too much alcohol.
It can be tempting to vent to friends and family, or on a social media support group site. You may think that your privacy settings prohibit your information from being discovered by your significant other or their attorney, but you can never be certain that your trusted social media “friends” will not share information they obtained from your social media posts with the adverse party in your case. It is important to follow these recommendations to be careful about what you post on social media even when you think it is safe to do so because there is always a chance that it can be used against you in a legal manner.