Can Your Social Media Posts be Used Against You in Family Law?
When it comes to divorce, anything you post on social media can and will be used against you. Before you hit that post or send button, understand your comment, post, etc., becomes a record that can be scrutinized by an opposing party, attorney, judge, or other professional related to your case. So ask yourself, would you uncomfortable having a Judge or Child Custody Evaluator see or read it?
Even an innocent comment, quote, or joke could be misinterpreted and used against you. A former client posted what appeared to be a statement admitting to drug use, but it was actually lyrics from a rock band’s song. That took time, and money to clear up because the client never attributed the post to the rock band.
Can Family Law Courts Review Posts You’re Tagged or Pictured in?
This standard is not limited to your own social media posts, it also applies to posts you appear or are tagged in on a friend’s social media account. Be mindful of situations you place yourself and your children in when photographs or videos are being taken as those can also be scrutinized and negatively impact your case.
Does Making My Profile Private or Going “Dark” on Social Media Help?
Should you “go dark” on social media during your divorce? That might not be a bad idea, but it might also cut you off from sharing important information, pictures, and videos with a child’s grandparents or other relatives. This is not only helpful in supporting those relationships but can also help show parental involvement and proof of family activities etc. Also keep in mind, just because your page or posts are private there is still a record with hashtags, location tags, and even low-tech methods like screenshots.
Whatever you do, don’t delete your social media history. That is not only important for your case, but the deletion of potential evidence can result in serious court-ordered sanctions against you.
If You Work on Social Media or You Don’t Want to Go “Dark” – Think Before You Post.
What if you are an “influencer” or make your living using social media? You still need to be mindful about posting anything that might impact your divorce. A self-employed person should not boast and inflate their wealth on social media if it contradicts financial statements made under penalty of perjury in legal documents. Or conversely, contradict requests for support with posts of a lavish lifestyle for the ‘Gram (Instagram). You could be opening yourself up for impeachment.
The use of social media in divorce or other family law matters isn’t so much about technology. It is more about common sense and the rules of evidence. If you need advice on how to protect yourself on social media and beyond during a divorce, consult with an experienced family law attorney by contacting us here.