Nowadays, it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t use social media. However, when going through a family law matter, what you share online may have significant consequences. Here are four examples:
1. State of Mind – Who hasn’t posted on Facebook, “I’m sad, depressed, angry, etc.”? The feeling is temporary, but what if every time you posted, your ex or their friend took a screen shot? Your ex shows the Court ten similar posts in a month-long period alleging you are depressed and may put your children’s lives in danger. You were just in a bad mood, but in a pattern, it can give the appearance of an unstable person needing therapy, not custody.
2. Communication – Social media is also helpful in documenting antagonizing or passive aggressive conversations between parties. Also, depending on privacy settings, others can view seemingly private conversations. Let’s say your best friend posts on your Facebook wall, “Vegas last weekend was a blast! #highrollers” just after you filed a request for your ex to pay your attorney fees, stating you have no money to eat or pay bills. Problem? You bet.
3. Evidence of Time and Place – You text the other parent you’re in horrible traffic and will be late to pick up your child(ren). The parent’s friend is on Instagram and saw your post at the local bar during happy hour with coworkers having several drinks. Not only are you lying about why you’ll be late, but it’s also evidence you are drinking excessively before driving to pick up your child(ren). You can see how this could be used against you – and not just in a divorce case.
4. Evidence of Actions – Social media posts may be used to show something you alleged you were unable or didn’t do. In Pennsylvania, a court denied ex-wife’s claim she needed lifetime spousal support (alimony) because she was disabled, when ex-husband found posts on social media about her being an avid belly dancer.
Keep in mind, nothing you do online is private and anything you post can and will be used against you, even if taken out of context, especially in a family law court.