A client read our post “BEEN INJURED? 5 RULES ABOUT POSTING ON SOCIAL MEDIA” and asked ” Do these rules matter in my divorce?
According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81% of divorce attorneys say they’ve seen an uptick in the number of recent cases where social media evidence was used.
You’re in the middle of your divorce and it’s natural to reach out to your friends and family online for comfort and sympathy. But do you know who else is scouring your social media sites (which are never really private)? Your soon-to-be-ex and their lawyers! And every post, tweet, snap, etc you post during this process can be used in a court of law.
7 RULES OF SOCIAL MEDIA TO FOLLOW BEFORE AND DURING A DIVORCE
RULE #1: Tell your friends and family…but: Tell them about your intent to divorce but PLEASE ask them not to post about your spouse or his family. Bashing your ex might feel good for the moment but all it really does is rile up emotions. And these posts, pins, tweets or snaps can be used against you. Ask your friends and family to take their comments offline.
RULE #2: Don’t share anything you wouldn’t want a judge or your grandmother to see. If it’s out there, opposing counsel will usually find it. Just don’t’ say, share or do anything your grandmother wouldn’t be exceedingly proud of.
RULE #3: Live your life as if cameras are constantly following you around and taping what you’re doing at all times. Social media provides a direct window into your private world. Only post positive, truthful thoughts and photos, or unplug completely (highly recommended). And tell your friends and family not to tag you in their posts or photos.
RULE #4: Assume everything you do online will be found. If it can be found by opposing counsel, your soon-to-be-ex, or their friends and family, and will be used against you. This also applies to phone and text records, emails, dating sites, and more. Don’t rely on privacy settings. Privacy settings are subject to change and can be difficult to manage effectively. If someone wants to see what you are posting, they will, despite the illusion of a ‘privacy wall’.
*And don’t think you can erase your posts. If the WaybackMachine can locate any webpage from years ago, it can find a nasty post or photo from last week.
RULE #5: If you’re debating whether or not it’s a good idea to share, comment or like something on social media, just don’t do it. Really, just don’t.
RULE #6: Don’t post photos of your children: Wait until you and your ex agree on the approach.
RULE #7: Don’t underestimate the power of social media evidence in the courtroom. Judges and juries are intrigued by social media evidence and they consider it just as persuasive as other evidence – sometimes more so. A post may be worth a thousand words.
Although you may enjoy your social media interactions and appreciate your friends and family commiserating on your divorce, social media silence will be your best strategy before and during your divorce.
To protect your case, do NOT:
- Post negative comments about your Ex
- Allow your friends and family to bash your Ex or his family online
- Do not post any behavior that might be misconstrued by a Judge or jury
- Share way-too personal information
- Share any photos or posts of your children until there’s an agreement
- Pin, tweet, snap or post any info about dating
- And never forget that you can never really erase anything online
Divorce, separation, and child custody cases are wrenching experiences but sharing might harm your case. We advise our clients to go silent on social media before and during their divorce.
In these cases, silence is truly golden.
When you are looking for a family law attorney, why HLA? We are not the largest, nor do we have the flashiest billboards. What we do have is 35 years of representing family law clients throughout South Florida which earned us the reputation as Experienced Litigators with a Reputation for Results. Call us at 305-653-5555 or email us at [email protected] for YOUR FEEE CONSULTATION. Learn why over 85% of our cases come from referrals from our clients and even other attorneys.