Divorce lawyers in Austin, TX know that social media has become a big issue in divorce proceedings. In fact, an estimated 81 percent of the members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers have indicated that they’ve either used or encountered evidence in divorce proceedings that was taken from social media websites.
Because postings on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other online websites can have such a profound impact on your divorce, it is important to be careful about what you are posting on the Internet. Forbes.com recently discussed some of the pitfalls to avoid when you are in the process of ending a marriage and the news magazine’s tips are good ones that divorcing couples should take to heart.
Social Media and Your Divorce
Forbes warns that any type of online activity can be used by your spouse to find out things about your current finances and about your current activities. While some people might assume they are safe if they block their spouse from viewing their online accounts, the fact is that many married people have a network of mutual friends, and often friends will take sides in a divorce. This means that if you post something, your spouse might not be able to see it but another friend could report back about what you have posted.
Furthermore, evidence can be obtained not just from your own page but also from the social media posts that your friends put up as well. For example, if someone puts up a picture of you with a new car or on a trip with them while you are claiming to the court that you don’t have a lot of money, the evidence of your spending can be obtained from your friend’s Facebook page and used against you in court. This could be used to call into question the statements you are making about your finances. Forbes also points out that your spouse could, for example, see a posting on a new girlfriend’s page about an expensive present, which could have an impact on your financial settlement in the divorce.
Courts have also admitted content from emails and text messages into evidence in divorce proceedings. Emails can often be subpoenaed during the divorce process and can be reviewed for things such as discussion of a promotion or impending bonus. If a potential bonus or promotion is revealed by reviewing the emails, or by reviewing your social media information, and it wasn’t disclosed on a financial statement, then this can have major consequences. Not only can your divorce be affected, but Forbes points out that lying on financial documents can be considered criminal activity.
These issues should be top concerns for anyone divorcing in a digital age. It is important to remember that nothing you — or your friends — post on the Internet is every truly private. If you don’t want your spouse to see something online during a divorce, don’t post about it and don’t let your friends take pictures of it.