For better or worse, social media evidence plays a role in the majority of the cases our divorce lawyers handle every day. If you’re planning to divorce, it’s essential to understand how social media could affect the outcome of your divorce and follow best practices for managing social accounts.
Deleting social media accounts and posts is a big no-no
One of the first pieces of advice we give clients is DO NOT delete any of their social media accounts, posts, messages, conversations or comments.
It’s true, anything you say and do on social media could be held against you. However, deleting accounts or posts that don’t represent you in a positive light is not a good idea, because a judge could find that you destroyed evidence, which is illegal.
Just because you delete something, doesn’t mean the opposing party or his or her counsel didn’t find that evidence earlier and preserve a screen grab. Claiming that such evidence doesn’t exist, then having it revealed by your spouse’s attorney could harm your case. Judges don’t look favorably upon people who lie.
Live your life like you’re being watched
… Because the world IS watching. During a divorce, it’s best to assume that everything you post, message, share and like on social media will be scrutinized by your spouse’s attorney and your judge.
While it’s typically best to avoid engaging with social media during a divorce, if you must post, post with care. Only share photos, videos or comments that are positive, such as a family outing or your child performing in a school play.
At the same time, don’t think that you can just fake “nice” on social media either. Remember, smartphones are everywhere and someone could capture your bad behavior at anytime – even as you walk away from your child’s baseball game, five minutes after you posted that you were there.
Learn how to prevent the cloud from scuttling your divorce in this helpful post.
Don’t underestimate the power of social media as evidence
Judges in the family courts take social media evidence very seriously and some are even intrigued by it. Video evidence can be especially compelling, because, depending on the content, it is typically more difficult to dispute than a photograph. Social media evidence can make or break your case; so don’t take it lightly.
Talk with children about their social media habits
While you may not want to stop your kids from using Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook completely, do have a conversation with them regarding what they should and shouldn’t post, like, message and share. It’s also helpful to explain to children that what they post may have consequences.
Learn more about the pitfalls of technology during divorce and child custody disputes in this past post.
For safety purposes, disable GPS or location access in social media apps
Many social media apps allow you to tag your location or even assign a location to your post automatically. If you’re afraid your spouse could harm you or your children, it’s vital to take precautions to keep your location private.
Check the settings for all social media apps on all of your digital devices – phones, tablets, laptops – and turn off each app’s access to your location. If you don’t know how, visit the store or service provider where you purchased the device and ask for help.
Turn to your divorce attorney for additional guidance
Social media apps and capabilities change practically every day, which means how social media factors into divorce cases continues to evolve. Since reputable divorce lawyers monitor social media’s influence on divorce cases on a regular basis, they can keep you up to speed on how to best manage your social media presence, before, during and after your divorce.
Since founding Connatser Family Law in 2013, Aubrey Connatser and her team have firmly established the next in a line of great Texas divorce and family law firms. To learn more about divorce and child custody in Dallas and Collin Counties, please call (214) 617-1583 to speak confidentially with a knowledgeable and compassionate member of the Connatser Family Law team.