The Impact of Social Media On Family Law Cases

One of the most appealing (and potentially dangerous) elements of social media—especially when viewed through the context of a family law case—is how accessible it is. It is a microphone that allows you to make announcements to people instantly. Social media in our homes, on our phones, and part of our daily lives. You may turn to social media when you are going through emotional challenges during a divorce. Creating a post after a contentious argument may feel therapeutic, but what you say could impact the outcome of your case. 

Before continuing, it is essential to highlight that everything we say applies to people with private accounts. These people may even be more inclined to say something negative because they think they only share their pictures or comments with their trusted friends and family members. All it takes is one person to screenshot your post and send it to the opposing side. 

Things To Avoid (Even If Your Account is Private)

Thinking twice about your social media activity is important in a family law case. Remember, friends or followers might share your posts even if your account is private. Even though your post might be rooted in the best intentions, seemingly innocuous things can alter your proceedings if taken out of context. Here are things to avoid posting:

  • Photos or Comments About New Relationships: Sharing about a new partner can complicate divorce proceedings regarding alimony or child custody. It may create an impression of infidelity, even if the relationship began after separation.
  • Financial Information: Posts showing new purchases, vacations, or even a new job can impact the financial aspects of your case. They might be used to make arguments about your financial situation. For example, if you claim financial hardship but post pictures of expensive items, it could be used against you
  • Negative Remarks: Speaking badly about your ex-partner or the other party in your case can hurt your position, especially in custody matters. It’s best to keep negative opinions off social media. Courts often view such behavior as unwillingness to cooperate or co-parent effectively.
  • Your Children’s Information: Sharing details or photos of your children during a custody dispute can be risky. It’s often best to keep their information private during legal proceedings.
  • Legal Details: Discussing any aspect of your case or seeking legal advice on social media can jeopardize your position. It’s always best to keep case details between you and your attorney.

How Social Media Can Impact the Outcome

At its core, social media is a way to take something private and make it public. The previous section outlined what you should avoid with social media. Let’s look at social media’s ramifications on a family law case. Here are some additional considerations to keep in mind:

  • Custody Decisions: Posts showing irresponsible behavior, like partying or inappropriate content, can impact how a court views your ability to care for a child. This can include posts that suggest a lack of supervision or exposure to inappropriate environments for children.
  • Financial Settlements: If your social media shows a lifestyle that doesn’t match the financial information you’ve provided in court, it could affect settlements or alimony decisions. For instance, posting about a luxurious lifestyle can contradict claims of financial hardship.
  • Credibility: Courts examine your social media to assess your character and truthfulness. Inconsistent posts can lead to questions about your credibility.
  • Emotional State: Posts that show extreme emotions or erratic behavior can be used to question your emotional stability, which is crucial in custody cases.
  • Associations: Your connections and interactions on social media can also be scrutinized. For example, interacting with individuals with a questionable background could negatively impact your case.

In both these situations, your online presence gives a picture of your life that the court might consider. Remember, everything you post can be seen and used in your case.

John M. Totten, P.C. 

Get professional advice if facing a family law case and unsure how your social media activity could affect it. Social media is simply one aspect to consider during a divorce, and we can guide you throughout the process to ensure you are making decisions that are in your and your family’s best interest. Contact us for a consultation to discuss your situation

John M. Totten
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