Over the past decade, social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have exploded in popularity. These web and mobile applications have changed how we share pictures to who we keep in contact with. What many people may not know is that social media is beginning to play a growing role in divorce cases across the nation. In fact, a google search for “Facebook divorce” will call up numerous examples and studies. The bottom line is that what you say or do while on social media may be used against you in the courtroom.
Examples of how information on social media may be used against you include:
- Publically speaking about the divorce: You may not think anything of comments made to friends over the internet about your divorce, but such actions can have very real consequences. For example, even a vague reference to an upcoming raise or bonus can put your financial listings under intense scrutiny. Furthermore, comments badmouthing your spouse or critiquing parenting styles can affect terms such as child custody agreements.
- Photos and videos: Visual evidence can be powerful and even the most innocent of photos may be misinterpreted and used against you. Photos which show you having fun may call into question your time commitments. An additional risk with social media occurs when a friend “tags” your photo. Some sites will make a tagged photo public without approval or knowledge.
- Luxury Purchases: While treating yourself to a fancy dinner or luxury item can feel like a good way to help with the emotional impact of a divorce, showing off a purchase on social media is not recommended. Seeing displays of wealth can bring you unwanted attention for your spouse’s attorneys.
- Be aware of mutual connections: It is likely that over the course of a marriage, you and your spouse built a network that includes shared friends. After a divorce, it is common for some connections to remain friendly only to one party. Although you may have removed your soon-to-be ex-spouse from your connections, your mutual friends will still be able to actively view your profile, information, and posts. These sources can convey information to your spouse that they themselves may not have otherwise been aware of.
When you read the fine print, you may discover that websites such as Facebook are collecting more information than you might realize. For example, when you post a photo or send a message, your geographical location may be saved for others to view. To complicate matters further, most social media sites have rapidly changing privacy agreements and settings, which means that users may unwittingly share information they believed to be hidden. While ensuring that all your social media accounts are set to private is a good first step, assume thateverything you publish online may be viewed by your spouse and their attorneys.
Do Not Navigate Your Divorce Alone
New technologies such as smartphones and the availability of social media have added additional complications which divorcing couples must consider. Many people may incorrectly assume that what they do online is their private business. However, this misconception can have disastrous consequences for courtroom negotiations. If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, the Mazaheri Law Firm can work with you closely during every part of the process to see that your interests are not subjected to additional risk. Our Oklahoma City divorce attorneys can bring more than two decades of collective experience to your corner and are able to return most calls within 48 hours.
Questions about divorce? Contact our firm and speak with an attorney about your situation.