Most people use social media every day. At the best of times, it is a convenient way to communicate with the world and share our memorable experiences. But during not-so-great times, sometimes the urge to share our lives with the internet can backfire.
If you are going through a divorce, you may wonder if social media can be used as evidence in your proceedings. The answer is typically yes. As long as the information was legally obtained, anything posted to social media can be used against you in a court of law.
That means your ex cannot hack into your Facebook to screenshot private messages.
But anything you post that can be seen by the public is admissible as evidence. This includes if someone else posts a photo of you, even without tagging you.
Here are a few ways your social media presence can be used as evidence in your divorce:
How Social Media Can Affect Custody Decisions
When determining custody decisions, the judge will consider many different factors. This includes the financial and emotional stability of both parents, their relationship to the child, and their ability to provide a safe home.
If your social media account showcases your inability to provide for your child, it may be used against you in the family court.
For example, photos of parents drinking and partying can sometimes be used as evidence of an unstable lifestyle. Of course, as long as you are partying responsibly and still able to maintain a stable household, this evidence may not persuade the judge too much.
On the other hand, evidence of the parent doing drugs, engaging in violent behavior, or performing illegal activities might jeopardize their custody rights.
How Social Media Can Affect Alimony
Social media can also be used when deciding alimony.
This is especially true if a person is misrepresenting their financial situation. For example, if they claim they are in desperate need of financial assistance, but then they post photos from a lavish vacation, their alimony may be denied.
Other times, the judge might consider your behavior online when determining who was at-fault for the divorce (if you live in an at-fault state).
If you or someone else posts a flirty photo with you, this might be used as evidence of infidelity that caused the marriage to fall apart. Or, if you trash talk your ex online, this could also be used against you.
Tips for Using Social Media During Your Divorce
The best way to avoid social media being used against you is to be mindful of what you post online.
During the stress of the divorce process, you might feel tempted to vent online. But family lawyers strongly advise against this. Instead, lean on your friends and family members for support.
Don’t post anything you don’t want the world – including the judge – to see. Avoid putting yourself in compromising or incriminating situations to begin with, and don’t misrepresent your situation.
In particularly contentious divorces, your lawyer might even advise you to temporarily deactivate your social media accounts, or turn them to private mode. However, you should never delete posts in anticipation of a trial.
Additionally, be sure to carefully evaluate who follows you on social media. It may be a good idea to remove your ex’s friends and family members, or at the very least restrict their ability to see your posts. You don’t want to risk someone passing one of your posts – even when it’s set to “Friends Only” – on to your ex and it coming back to bite you.
Expert Divorce Lawyers in Rockville, MD
If you are going through a divorce in Maryland, you need expert representation to guide you through the process. The Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado can help.
Our expert divorce attorneys in Rockville will provide the legal counsel you need to build your case. And if necessary, we will fight by your side and defend your rights in the courtroom. Call now to learn more!