Social media posts and photos from platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and online dating sites are commonly used as evidence in legal divorce proceedings.
The Impact of Social Media on Divorce
Social media has become a popular way to communicate with friends, family, casual acquaintances, and even strangers, but posts and pictures present many risks for divorcing couples. Before, during, and after a divorce, social media posts can impact divorce proceedings and the case outcome. Before posting comments and pictures on social media sites, anyone going through a divorce should carefully consider their impact.
During a divorce, both parties are entitled to request information from the other party. This information can be used to investigate and confirm facts and prepare for a court trial. Even when one party does not have direct access to the other party’s social media accounts, they may legally request it through a divorce lawyer. In divorce cases, social media posts and pictures can be used as evidence to establish:
- Documented communications
- A person’s state of mind
- Evidence of specific time and place
- Evidence of actions
- Evidence of people that parties spend time with
- Proof of income and spending
Prevent Incriminating Evidence
In divorce cases that involve child custody, posts about social or leisure activities, trips and vacations, purchases, and spending habits may have an impact on child support payments. In some states, divorce lawyers are permitted to use social media accounts to serve a party with legal documents. In a recent divorce case, a New York judge allowed a man to serve his ex-wife with legal documents on Facebook after evidence showed that the man had not been able to serve documents through traditional methods.
When a divorce is likely or in process, it is important to protect against damaging evidence that may hurt the case. Deactivating social media accounts for a period of time may prevent opposing parties from acquiring incriminating evidence. If social media accounts remain active, everything posted may be used in divorce litigation.
For protection, people should consider changing account passwords, not posting personal information, and blocking their spouse and/or friends and family members who may relay information to opposing parties. Although these measures may seem extreme, 80% of divorce lawyers now use evidence from social media sites against an opposing party in a divorce case.