I have divorce clients that came in the door because they caught their spouse cheating online. There is little doubt in my mind that the increase in our everyday connectivity, and the use of various social media networks, like Facebook, has led to an increase in people filing for divorce. Not everyone comes into my office because of a cheating spouse, but I usually address the subject of social media for a different, but similar reason.
Whatever you post, share, tweet to the world or just your close group of friends, may not be something you want your spouse, but especially the Judge to see!
Sometimes, this is obvious, but as social media and our openness becomes mainstream, sometimes sharing something is second nature, and that habit is something you might need to break. Emails, text messages, Instagram photos and a Facebook posts can become potential evidence that is admissible in court.
Are they your friends or your spouses’ friends?
You double and triple checked your privacy settings on Facebook, but one thing you need to consider that you may not have: Your ‘friend’ may also be a ‘friend’ of your spouse. So double checking your privacy settings is certainly a good idea, it is certainly not fool proof. The best policy to have is to always keep in mind that what you are posting is something you would not be afraid to let the Judge in your divorce case see.
So you are sure that what you are posting is nothing that you wouldn’t mind the judge seeing, but you still have to be careful about what others post of or about you. Here is an example: A husband states he did not have enough money to pay the full amount of child support the last 3 months because he was unemployed and had to pay his living expenses, yet he and his new girlfriend went on a 5 day trip to Cancun. On that trip, he proposed to her and she got a beautiful engagement ring. He didn’t post a thing about it on his Facebook page, but what do you think she did? The Wife’s attorney simply asked husband’s attorney some questions about the trip and the ring, and they tendered the past due support payment the next day.
Keep in mind that while social media can work against you, it can also work in your favor.