Social Media, the Internet and the Law - Part One - Divorce and Custody

Posted By Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C.

3 Feb. 2017

Social media is everywhere these days, and people are constantly on their phones, texting, sharing photos on Instagram and Facebook, or sharing their opinions on Twitter. Many people use social media to vent their frustrations and seek advice. This has become the norm for many.

While having instant access to information can be a wonderful thing, using social media, email, and text messaging can create ample evidence in a divorce or custody case, which can be used against one or both parties.

Emails and text messages are admissible in court and can be subpoenaed. In fact, a message you thought was private can be used against you. Even a seemingly harmless Facebook post about going on a vacation can come back to bite you. While most people don’t list their incomes on Facebook, many brag about their financial or professional successes. Additionally, on some social media sites, such as LinkedIn, people list their entire professional resume.

For example, a party in a divorce proceeding may claim he doesn’t have a job and can’t afford child support. He may then post a photo from his tropical beach vacation on Facebook. This may be evidence that he is not telling the truth on his Financial Statement and could call his credibility into question in front of the Court.

Social media often shows what a person is doing and when they are doing it. A picture of a parent intoxicated may be considered by the court. But a picture of a parent intoxicated during his/her parenting time with their child is most likely to be significant.

Here are some tips to prevent negative effects from social media:

1. Stop using social media altogether. Because married couples have many mutual friends, blocking your ex or making your account “private” may not be enough. You may still have mutual friends and acquaintances that can relay the happenings to the other person.

2. Don’t put anything in an email, text message or social media post that you do not want a judge to see.

3. Don’t delete your social media account. Deleting a social media account after the proceeding has started may be considered destruction of evidence by a court. Don’t delete the account, just stop using it.

4. Don’t share information about the divorce or anything that happened in Court or mediation on social media. Certain portions of proceedings may be confidential (like mediation), and you don’t want to violate any orders.

5. Don’t vent about your ex online. Name calling or complaining about your ex is not going to help in the long run and can be used against you. This can be especially harmful in custody cases if the children have their own social media accounts and can view the posts.

Remember, social media is entertaining, but it also has its potential dangers.

Would You Like Help Through the Divorce Process? Call Jorgenson, Brownell & Pepin P.C.

If you are contemplating divorce but are nervous to move through the process alone, our Longmont divorce lawyers can stand by your side. We know these cases can be time-consuming and emotionally draining, and that is why we work diligently to handle divorce and family law cases as quickly as possible without sacrificing the integrity of your claims. Because divorce often brings up complex matters, it is beneficial to begin working with a divorce lawyer right away.

Discuss your case with a Longmont divorce attorney today by calling our legal team!

Categories: Divorce
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