In a 2010 survey of U.S. divorce attorneys, more than 80 percent reported that they had seen an increase in the number of family law cases in which social media posts and photos were used as evidence in the last five years. And as Facebook, Twitter and other social networking websites continue to grow in usage and popularity, this number will likely only increase.
As such, it is important to be aware of the potential harm your Facebook posts could have on your divorce, custody, child support or other family law case, and to take every effort to avoid causing such harm. In general, the best way to do so is to delete your social media accounts entirely, but many people are understandably hesitant to do so. If you are one of those people, here are a few tips for Facebook usage during a family law case.
Essentially, it boils down to this: watch what you write. Don’t post anything negative about your spouse, his or her lawyer or the judge presiding over your case (especially not the judge!). Angry, vengeful statements could easily make their way into family court, where they could be used to prove your ex’s contention that you are at fault for the divorce or that you should not be granted custody of your children.
Even if you are not discussing the divorce or your ex, your posts could harm your case. If you are posting photos of a lavish vacation or talking about expensive new purchases, your ex could use those posts to prove that you should pay more in the divorce settlement or in alimony or child support.
In sum, it is best to think twice before posting anything on Facebook until your family court case is finalized. When in doubt, keep it off the Internet.
Source: Reuters, “Your Money: Trashing your ex on Facebook may cost you,” Geoff Williams, Aug. 22, 2012