Social media has become a part of our everyday lives, but for those going through a divorce, sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can quickly become a source of misery and ultimately impact the outcome of the case.
In 2010, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 81% of divorce attorneys saw an increase in social-media based evidence. Today, Facebook is involved in up to one-third of divorces.
Social Media’s Impact on the Financial Aspects of a Divorce
Social media users often forget the impact of their posts on social media and fail to evaluate how much information they are giving away in their posts.
Both spouses must be completely honest and transparent about their finances during a divorce.
Social media posts may reveal purchases that one spouse was unaware of and cannot be accounted for in joint bank accounts. In some cases, it can reveal illegal activity or a track record of wanton spending. Posts may also reveal discrepancies between what one spouse says and what the accounts say.
For example, a spouse may say that he or she is going on a business trip, but posts on social media show him or her on vacation with friends. If the costs of the trip are unaccounted for in joint bank accounts, the trip may be a sign that the spouse has an alternative source of income that is not being disclosed.
Airing Out Dirty Laundry on Social Media
Social media posts can also reveal adultery. In some states, adultery is grounds for divorce. It’s not uncommon for divorcing social media users to post photos and status updates that reveal an affair. These posts can be used against the user in divorce proceedings.
In states where adultery is grounds for divorce, proof of an affair will automatically bar that spouse from seeking alimony.
Social Media and Child Custody
When resolving child custody issues, courts will typically look at what’s best for the child. Each parent’s living situation and income will be considered, and will be compared to the child’s needs. Judges will favor the parent who can provide the child with the love and attention he or she needs to thrive.
Social media posts can potentially impact a judge’s opinion on the parent’s ability to care for the child, particularly if the posts show that the parent is engaged in:
Social Media and Privacy
If you’re going through a divorce, you may be wondering what social media evidence can be used against you and vice versa. According to Family Lawyer Magazine, courts have ruled that social media content is usable evidence because:
The magazine also notes that text messages, emails and computer hard drives can also be sources of evidence for divorce lawyers, depending on how the information is accessed.
Courts can grant access to social media accounts when requests are deemed as reasonable efforts to find admissible evidence.