Just about everybody is active on at least one social media website these days.
While these social networks can seem like casual places to connect with friends and family, share pictures, and learn about upcoming events, it’s important to keep in mind it’s anything but private––especially when facing legal issues.
For years now, evidence gathered from Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites have been submitted in a wide variety of family law cases. Today, you may be surprised to know it’s routinely seen during divorce cases, custody disputes, and hearings on child support just to name a few.
While courts usually don’t place as much weight on this kind of evidence, there are many scenarios where social media content can be absolutely pivotal to the case.
How can social media content be used during a family law case?
Most often, social media content is used to help establish a sense of someone’s lifestyle, including how they conduct themselves as parents, how they manage their finances, and their behavior leading up to the case.
It’s also commonly used to verify or dispute a claim someone has made in court by showing their social media activity to either corroborate or go against what they said to be true.
For instance, if someone regularly took to Facebook to post status updates about spending gratuitous amounts of money on shopping purchases, this could be used to help position that person as financially irresponsible––not a situation people typically want to find himself or herself in during a divorce.
Other common scenarios where social media often comes into play includes:
- Child custody cases
- Employment status
If, for instance, an ex-spouse and their legal team was able to gather pictures showing the other person intoxicated on a regular basis, the evidence could demonstrate that that household is not fit for children to be present in.
If child support is the issue in question, any content showing the person is either unemployed and/or not actively seeking employment could indicate a person was not making an effort to get those payments in order.
Pictures, status updates, tweets or any other kind of social post demonstrating an extravagant lifestyle can show that the individual isn’t allocating their spending in line with what is expected of them when parties attempt to have payment requirements lowered.
These are just a few examples of how someone’s social media activity can affect
What can I do to ensure my case is not jeopardized by what I’ve posted on social media networks?
The best way to ensure your social media activity is not accessible to anyone who may use it against you is simply to delete or deactivate your profiles as early as possible.
If you’re wondering how to do this, justdelete.me is a great resource designed to help you delete a wide variety of social profiles.
It’s important to remember that social media is just that: social. Every time you post to one of these networks, you’re broadcasting a message to the world. If you’re engaging in questionable behavior, there is absolutely no excuse for announcing it for all to see.
Just about all of the major social networking sites offer privacy settings you should definitely be using whether you’re considering a divorce or not. These settings can keep the content you post visible among a select group of people instead of the general public.
If you’re worried about how your social media activity might affect your divorce proceedings, or are seeking legal support for your divorce or marital separation, contact an experienced Beloit Family Law firm, The Fitzgerald Law Firm, today for a free consultation. We understand that meetings may not be possible during traditional business hours, so please let us know a time that works for you and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
Photo credit: Gizmodo