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Bay Area Family Attorneys > Blog > Divorce > Divorce and Social Media: Beware

Divorce and Social Media: Beware


Social media can be a blessing – but do not forget or underestimate that it can also be a curse. While social media can bring so much good to those who use it – keeping in touch with far-away family, even providing a source of income for many influencers – you should not be complacent and forget that social media is, above all else, a record of your life. And when you are going through something like a divorce, what you choose to record of your life may come under scrutiny.

What does that mean?

Divorcing couples have always received guidance to be careful with what recorded messages they give to their ex. With some limitations, your ex canuse records of your words or behavior against you in court. What you need to remember, in this social media age, is that what you put out online and into your own social media accounts can also be a record. Your ex, your ex’s family, your ex’s friends, might take advantage of what you put out online..

But how might that happen? And what can you do to avoid giving an ex this advantage? Read on for some basics to which you can refer, and remember that a dedicated family lawyer and/or divorce lawyer can provide tailored advice specific to your own circumstances.

Posting Personal Information

When reading Miranda rights, the phrase “anything you say can and will be used against you” is stated. It might be wise for anyone in the midst of (or anticipating) divorce to repeat this mantra prior to posting anything online. Anything that reflects  one’spersonal feelings, financial situation, etc., might be used against you in court. One should be prepared for how that might affect the divorce case moving forward.

For example, let us imagine that your ex is making false claims that you are verbally abusive. Even if the claim is not true, how do you think the court would react if your spouse provided evidence of a couple of your social media posts created in anger, in which you berate or talk negatively of your spouse? These items will probably not be determinative, but they can be used as evidence against you and they will not help your case. What is important to remember, is you hold the control here – and you can just refrain from making the post. Protect your own best interests by thoughtfully considering anything you put onto the internet.

Incriminating Pictures

In a similar vein to what we discussed above – pictures can incriminate or be used against you as well. For example, let’s say that your spouse is fighting for sole custody of your child. As part of their evidence to the court, they submit recent social media video and pictures that establish that you frequently party throughout the week? Again, these may not be determinative, but they do not look good in front of the judge either. Or say that you are pursuing a claim for spousal support, stating that you would struggle without your spouse’s income. But your spouse enters into the court record photos of your recent trip to Greece? Regardless of the truth in a matter – pictures paint a story. Take control of what story you put out to the world.

Consider a Social Media Break

Remember that any record you create – a “story,” a text, a message – could become relevant evidence in a divorce or custody hearing. When you are aware that any move you make could be scrutinized and used against you – it might be wise to take a social media pause.

Speak with an experienced divorce attorney for advice specific to your own situation, but remember that, generally, it is NEVER a good idea to try to “scrub” social media and delete things that could reflect negatively on you. You CAN, however, proactively move forward from this moment and thoughtfully decide what you do – or do not – want to put out to the world.

Contact Cardwell, Steigerwald Young LLP

The San Francisco family lawyers at Cardwell, Steigerwald Young LLP offer our clients comprehensive guidance to help navigate you through the complicated matters often found in divorce, and help you land on the best outcome moving forward. Engage with our experienced legal team today.




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