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Attorneys Vic Hill and Brad MacDonald

What you tweet can be used against you in divorce court

In this day and age of social media and online inter-connectedness, it seems that over-sharing has become the norm. Users of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and now, Google Plus, regularly post about their daily lives, from the minute details (“I had oatmeal for breakfast this morning”) to major life events (“I just filed for divorce.”)

Regardless of your opinion on social media, it appears that it is here to stay. As such, people who are going through a divorce or other family law matter should ensure that they are taking the utmost care in reference to their social media accounts. In short: don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t want read out loud in court, in front of or by the judge deciding your case.

The reasons for this are many. Once a statement, photo, or other information is put on the Internet, it can always be found, regardless of your efforts to remove it. Therefore, it is best to simply not post anything that could be the slightest bit damaging. The best way to do this is to delete your accounts, at least for the duration of the proceedings. If you are hesitant to do that, however, here are a few tips for protecting yourself against a social media minefield:

  • Take a breath. Don’t come home from court or a particularly enraging meeting with an ex-spouse and immediately write an angry post on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Keep a watchful eye on changing privacy settings, so your formerly private profile doesn’t suddenly become public without you knowing. Be vigilant about friends tagging you in photos or posting anything that you don’t want to be associated with.
  • Don’t make new friends. If a “friend of a friend” or someone you do not know requests to be your friend during court proceedings, they may have been sent to e-spy on you. Stranger things have happened during highly-emotional, hotly-contested family law proceedings.

Source: Huffington Post, “Social Media Represents Minefield In Divorce Landscape,” Joseph E. Cordell, August 8, 2011